Greek union (OSYE) calls for strike actions in prisons

(October 2011)
The Greek Union of Prison Officers (OSYE) has decided to go on strike in protest against the bad state in which Greek prisons are.
As we emphatically stated at the European Prison Service Conference in Athens in May 2011, and as you have perceived by visiting the Detention Premises in Korydallos, all working branches and specialties in prisons – especially first-line, uniformed prison staff – are thoroughly understaffed.
In many cases, the statutory posts for prison staff which are still unfilled are equal to the 55% of the total. There is also a great dearth of medical, nursing and administrative prison staff.
This situation is becoming more and more difficult due to the increasing number of retirements of colleagues of ours – as a result of changes in the pension legislation – the continuing decrease in our salary (which has already decreased by up to 40%) and the uncertainty regarding the new pay scale for the public sector which is being planned by the government. Concerning this pay scale, it is not certain that the special and hazardous conditions of prison work (which are recognized by the European Prison Rules and the international prison legislation) are being taken into account.
Moreover, the number of prisoners has risen dramatically, from around 8,000 inmates – a number which constitutes the full capacity of Greek prisons – to 12,400. This rise accounts for overpopulation, overcrowding and many other problems. The risks facing the existing staff are great; incidents of beatings and threats against staff, as well as between inmates, have occurred.
We demand the immediate recruitment of staff, especially first-line, uniformed prison staff.
We demand that prison staff be fully excluded from the ban on recruitment which has been imposed by the Troika and the Greek government. Otherwise, we demand that staff which will be dismissed from the rest of the public sector, be transferred to the Prison Service.
We go on strike on 5,6,7,10,11,12,13 and 14 October 2011, seeking to ensure not the quality of our lives, but our lives themselves.
For the Executive Committee
The President
Antonis Aravantinos
The Secretary General
Spiros Karakitsos