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‘Scandal Hit’ Prisoner Custody Contractor Cancels 100 Trade Union Memberships Over Pay And Conditions Dispute

Tuesday, February 25, 2020


‘Scandal Hit’ Prisoner Custody Contractor Cancels 100 Trade Union Memberships Over Pay And Conditions Dispute

Over 100 Prisoner Custody Officers (PCO’s) have had their trade union memberships cancelled by their employer GeoAmey Scotland, as a dispute over pay and working conditions badly deteriorates.

GMB members learned today (Tuesday 25 February) that the scandal hit Scottish Court Custody and Prisoner Escort Service (SCCPES) had attempted to cancel their GMB membership by stopping their union dues paid through the employer payroll check-off system.

In a clear breach of the Scottish Government’s fair work guidelines, the move by GeoAmey is in response to GMB’s campaign for a higher basic hourly rate of pay, union recognition and a new collective agreement for PCOs.

Scottish PCO’s are the poorest paid in the UK, receiving less than £10 an hour, against the backdrop of increasing workplace health and safety scandals, with the latest incident revealed today as PCOs were exposed to the blood of a self-harming prisoner at Edinburgh Sheriff Court.

GMB Scotland Organiser Karen Leonard said: “This is an unprecedented attack on staff and their trade union rights, and a brazen response to our members’ campaign for better pay and working conditions.

“Our PCO’s act as a human shield between prisoners and the public but they are paid a pittance; the poorest paid of any contract associated with prisoner custody services anywhere in the UK.

“Quite rightly our members want decent pay and the platform to consult and engage with their employer over their working conditions, and this morning’s media reports are another case in point as to why.

“But GeoAmey have effectively stuck two fingers up to their hard pressed employees concerns and also to the Scottish Government’s guidelines for fair work – is it any wonder this service jumps from one scandal to another?”


Contact: GMB Scotland Organiser Karen Leonard on 07718 112031 or Peter Welsh, GMB Scotland Communications, on 07976 447077.

Notes to Editors:

“Frenzied prisoner slashed himself with razor blade while in the dock”, Daily Record, Tuesday 25 February 2020, access at:

“The Killers in Picassos”, Sunday Post, June 2 2019, access at:

For copies of GMB Scotland’s letter to the Scottish Government Cabinet Secretary for Justice Humza Yousaf MSP, please contact GMB Scotland Communications on 0141 352 8162 or via Peter Welsh, GMB Scotland Communications.