05:44, July 19 175 0 theguardian.com

2017-07-19 05:44:03
Prisons: government wins high court bid to ban industrial action

The government has won its high court bid to obtain a permanent ban on industrial action by prison officers.

The application by the Ministry of Justice followed a move in February by the Professional Trades Union for Prison, Correctional and Secure Psychiatric Workers (POA) to call on its members to take action short of a strike.

It led to an interim injunction requiring the POA to withdraw a circular instructing members to refuse to undertake certain voluntary tasks.

Daniel Stilitz QC, for the government, said this month that the case was brought “to ensure that POA does not seek to breach the law again”.

John Hendy QC, for the POA, said each of the activities referred to in the circular were voluntary in nature and there was no evidence that any of the 35,000 members had been asked to disobey any lawful instruction.

He said steps were taken to ensure members fully complied with the February order and the court was being asked to consider the lawfulness of a circular that was no longer extant and never implemented.

On Wednesday in London, Mr Justice Jay said the Ministry of Justice was entitled to a final injunction.