This was on the MOD Oracle site. 'Soldiers to man UK jails' if prison strike goes ahead Published: 10/08/2006 - 17:21:23 PM British soldiers could be manning UK jails if threats by a prison officers' union to strike are carried out, a prison governor has reportedly said. Claudia Sturt, who runs Belmarsh jail in south east London, has told her staff servicemen might have to be diverted from Afghanistan and Iraq if officers walk out, according to the Evening Standard. The governor also suggested Metropolitan Police officers might be used in the jail if a strike took place. Prison officers are restricted by law from taking industrial action but union officials have balloted members on doing so. The Prison Officers Association (POA) general secretary Brian Caton said the dispute centred around the union's lack of confidence in the service's pay review body, which it claims is not impartial. POA members have been offered a 1.6% pay award by the body, described as "shameful" by the union. Mr Caton said: "The dispute is not about the pay award, it's the process of the pay review body that's not independent and does not carry our confidence." Commenting on the result of the industrial ballot which will be announced on Tuesday he added: "It seems like it's going to be an overwhelming vote in favour of industrial action. "We will consider it with the national executive committee and determine what action we will take - it could be strike action." A walk-out by prison officers could affect courts and police stations involved in the transfer of prisoners. A Prison Service spokesman said: "The Director General of the Prison Service wishes to ensure that staff who may be voting in the current POA ballot in regard to potential industrial action are fully aware of the issues under dispute and are aware of the consequences of strike action. "We have contingency plans for all emergency situations." Copyright Press Association 2006.