The Prison Officers’ Association has said that its members are taking part in protests over the surge of violence in Britain’s prisons.
Steve Gillan, POA general secretary, called for union members to protest outside their work from 07:00 BST on Friday until “instructed otherwise”.
Prisons Minister Rory Stewart said the protests were “irresponsible.”
Mr Stewart said: “Prison officers do vital and important work and we urge them to return to their duty stations, in line with their obligations to the law and the prison service.
“We are deploying our contingency plans but, by not turning up for work, these prison officers are putting their fellow staff and inmates at risk.”
Mr Gillan said ministers had been “paying lip service” to the safety of prison staff.
“We will now be demanding that the government provide safe prisons, meet our demands to improve personal protective equipment, reduce levels of violence and overcrowding,” Gillan added.
The shadow justice secretary, Richard Burgon, backed the move. “Conservative cuts to prison budgets and staffing levels have led to violence spiralling out of control in our prisons. Prison staff all too often pay the price, with assaults on officers doubling since Tory cuts started to bite.
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