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Prison staff take 'unauthorised action' at Northern Ireland high security jail

Published 04/11/2016

Staff have refused to begin work at Maghaberry
Staff have refused to begin work at Maghaberry

Prison officers at Northern Ireland's high-security jail delayed their start to work on Friday morning in a dispute over pay and conditions, the BBC has reported.

It's thought around 80 officers involved in industrial action held a meeting instead of beginning their shifts at Maghaberry at around 8am.

The broadcaster reported staff involved returned to work just after 9am.

It said prison officers are not allowed to strike and could have faced legal and disciplinary action if they refused to return to work.

More: MLA Doug Beattie hits out at delay over pay deal for prison staff

Maghaberry houses some of Northern Ireland most dangerous criminals.

No other prisons were affected in Northern Ireland although a meeting was held at Magilligan, authorised by the prison service.

A NI Prison Service spokeswoman said: "Some staff took unauthorised action for a short time this morning at Maghaberry but this has now ended and the prison regime has returned to normal.

“Discussions have been taking place in recent months between NIPS and Department of Justice senior managers and the trade unions on a 2016 pay award for prison grades.

"The Minister has met the POA and advised them that she is in discussions with her Ministerial colleague, the Finance Minister”.

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