Ruskell speaks up for Prison Service staff who feel left out of negotiations over pay

Mark Ruskell, Green MSP for Mid Scotland and Fife, has today spoken out for Scottish Prison Service staff who say they are being left out of negotiations over pay and job roles.

Questioning the Cabinet Secretary for Justice, Michael Matheson, in the Holyrood chamber, he asked why prison officers had recently received a pay bonus which was not extended to other staff in the prison service.

Mr Ruskell, whose region includes Glenochil, Perth and Cornton Vale Prisons, said the unfair pay award has left staff feeling undervalued and undermined:

“I’ve spoken to Scottish Prison Service staff who say there has been a fundamental misunderstanding of the roles they play in this important national service. This pay award unfairly distinguishes between those in uniform and those not, and doesn’t recognise the many highly qualified and dedicated staff who deal with prisoners day in day out in therapeutic and managerial roles.

"We were told a similar pay award in 2015 would be a one off as part of a modernisation review in the prisons service, but two years later the review is not complete and officers are receiving another pay-out. The Cabinet Secretary spoke of a ‘transformational programme’, which is very welcome, but he needs to acknowledge that this will affect all staff and not just officers.

"This unequal pay bonus sets an unfair precedent for future pay negotiations, and I call on the minister to make sure that all prison staff are represented and rewarded as we modernise our prison service.”