Thousands of employees of British prisons agreed to return to work after walking out on Friday in protest at safety issues, including "unprecedented levels of violence" against them, reportedly putting some jails on lock-down.
The walk-out began early Friday morning but the prison officers agreed to return to work after talks with the government over safety and other working conditions.
The Prison Officers' Association, a trade union that called for action, said it had asked its 28,000 members to end the protest "following meaningful engagement with the [Prisons] Minister Rory Stewart."
The government promised to broker talks on "a plan of action to address the concerns of the union," which include what the POA called "unprecedented levels of violence" against staff, the union said.
The POA said it asked members to return to work, while the government agreed to drop its threat of court action over the protest.
"The POA will not allow our members to suffer in silence. The employer must be prepared to meet our demands and provide safe prisons," POA secretary general Steve Gillan said in a statement on the ending of the walk-out.
The union said it called for the protests after inspectors found "a catalogue of failure" at an overcrowded prison in Bedford, 80 kilometres north of London.
The government had said it planned to seek a court injunction to ban the protests, calling them "irresponsible" and unlawful, and accusing protesting prison officers of "putting their fellow staff and inmates at risk."
Local media said inmates at prisons in the cities of Hull and Bristol had been placed on lock-down after union members walked out early Friday.
Staff also walked out at sites including London's Wandsworth prison and Winson Green in the central city of Birmingham, reports said.
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