PCS forces Scottish Government U-turn on equal pay for women prison staff

The Scottish Prisons Service, led by Justice Secretary Michael Matheson, has u-turned and agreed an out of court settlement brought over equal pay.

A £4000 settlement is to paid to 600 non-uniformed staff in Scottish Prisons, who are predominantly women. The victory comes after a long fought battle waged by the Public and Commercial Service union, after they claimed that discretionary bonuses paid to predominantly male prison officers were discriminatory.

The union welcome the settlement, but said that the time has come for real pay increases across the board for Scottish Public sector workers. Reacting to the news, PCS National Officer Lynn Henderson said:

"This is a great boost for our members in the Scottish Prison Service (SPS). We're glad that the employer has agreed to address this issue and deliver fairness for these staff. It’s also is a boost for working women across all workplaces.

"The jobs that women do are of equal value and importance to those of men. This settlement proves the power of trade unions in fighting for equality in every workplace in Scotland. But there are also many lower graded staff who won’t get a payment. Like the prison officers and now the other staff in those grades they too have made a huge contribution. So they too deserve to be rewarded in the same way as their higher-graded colleagues."

Commenting on the settlement, Scottish Labour’s shadow spokesperson on Justice, Daniel Johnson MSP, said:

“This is a great victory for women workers who do a fantastic job in our prisons.”

“It is frankly appalling that it took the threat of legal action to make SNP ministers do a screeching U-turn and give these workers the money they deserve.”

“Scottish Labour is calling on the SNP government to give our hardworking prison staff a comprehensive pay settlement and end this ad-lib remuneration policy.”

“Only Labour will build a prison system that fairly rewards staff and puts public safety first.”

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