Court & Prison Staff Hold Strike

Court staff and prison service workers are to go on strike today in a dispute over pay.

The one day industrial action will involve Public and Commercial Services union members working in the Scottish Courts Service, Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service, Scottish Prison Service and the Risk Management Authority.

The Scottish Court Service said that some courts may be affected, while the SPS said they do not expect any major disruption to normal prison regimes.

The union said it is seeking a 5% or £1,200 pay increase for public sector workers following price rises of 16% and real term pay cuts since the financial crisis.

It said its members in the SCS are working under enormous pressure to deliver "excellent services with fewer resources'' and with "little or no reward for their hard work''.

The union said that there are concerns about job security and additional workloads at the SPS which is undergoing an organisational review.

Today's strike follows week long strike action throughout Scottish Government and Scottish Parliament bodies as part of a two month rolling programme of industrial action by PCS union members across the Scottish devolved governance sector.

Lynn Henderson, PCS Scottish Secretary, said: "PCS members are dedicated to delivering fair justice and high quality services to the people of Scotland, at times under very difficult circumstances for very little reward.

"The new Justice Secretary should use whatever influence he has to feed back into Cabinet discussions on the budget that civil and public servants can no longer put up with job cuts and reorganisations and carry the impact of austerity cuts in their pockets with pay freezes and pay restraint.''

The union expects around 2,000 members to take part in today's action.

The Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service said it has arrangements in place to ensure delivery of all its business that is required on the day.

The SCS said there is a possibility that some courts might be affected and said it will update the website and its Twitter page as appropriate.

An SPS spokesman said: "We are aware of the planned industrial action and do not anticipate any major disruption to normal prison regimes.''

A Scottish Government spokesman said: "We remain committed to working constructively with PCS and other trade unions to address the challenges presented by the current financial climate.

"As a result of the UK Government's austerity measures, the Scottish Government's discretionary budget is being reduced in real terms by nearly 10% over five years.

"We have consistently rejected the Chancellor's approach to public finances and remain concerned about the impact of spending cuts on public services, household budgets and economic recovery.

"Within tight current budgetary constraints, we have set out a distinctive pay policy for Scotland that aims to be fair and affordable.

"In contrast to the UK Government, Scottish Ministers' pay policy targets support for those on the lowest incomes, including a commitment to the Scottish Living Wage and a minimum pay increase above 1% for those earning less than £21,000, as well as a continuing policy of no compulsory redundancy.''

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