Lincoln Prison will no longer face conversion to an Immigration Removal Centre, the UK Borders Agency announced today. The conversion could have resulted in job cuts and added hundreds more to the 3,500 people who are currently unemployed in Lincoln. This follows a campaign by Public and Commercial Services union and the Prison Officers Association, who represent staff at the prison. The campaign, supported by Lincoln & District Trades Union Council, involved weekly campaign stalls and a joint union petition which was signed by over 600 people.
Nick Parker, Lincoln & District TUC Secretary, said: “The decision not to convert Lincoln Prison into an Immigration Removal Centre is a significant success for the trade union movement locally against the Government’s cuts agenda. Karl McCartney [MP for Lincoln] and Martin Hill [Lincolnshire County Council Leader], who are vocal supporters of cuts and privatisation of our public services, will try to claim victory in this campaign. But it’s clear that this victory was won through action not the empty words of Tory politicians. The activity of the PCS and POA unions in organising street campaigning and the threat of mass protest action at the gates of the prison won this battle. But whilst this decision is welcome, the trade union movement will continue to fight to oppose all cuts, downgrading and privatisation of our public services.”
The joint union petition, launched three weeks ago, contains the following wording:
“HMP Lincoln faces possible closure, with the loss of up to 500 jobs to the local economy. If it closes, it could also threaten the future of jobs and services at Lincoln Crown Court, as well as affect Lincoln’s economy and disrupt the lives of the families of offenders.
We, the undersigned, say:
- No to the closure or downgrading of HMP Lincoln;
- No to private profiteering in the justice sector;
- No to all cuts in jobs, pay, pensions, legal aid and justice services;
- Yes to a properly-staffed public justice system under democratic control and accountability.
From Nick Parker Lincoln & District TUC