Collective Bargaining, COVID-19, Staffing levels, Outsourcing, Prisons Services
The three main trade unions - CGSP/ACOD, ACV/CSC and SLFP/VSOA - organised a 48-hour national strike from 6am on 24 September in protest at proposals to relax the rules on prisoner visits. The unions are extremely concerned that the proposed changes come at a time of increasing infection and pose a serious threat to staff and inmates.
Prison sector unions have called on the government to immediately restart negotiations over pay following the latest of six days of strike action which have had strong nationwide support from prison workers. The unions began the action following the new socialist-led government's withdrawal of funding for a pay increase. The unions now want to see bargaining restart and have been critical of the authorities for aggressive tactics in the policing of pickets and demonstrations around the country.
The trade unions representing prison workers, including EPSU affiliates ACAIP-USO, FSC-CCOO and FeSP-UGT, are continuing their strike action over pay despite attempts by the prison service to get the action declared illegal. The unions reported massive support for the first two days of strike action on 25-26 October. Further action had already been planned for 10-13 November but the unions had to counter the legal challenge by the employers and so have agreed that the next four days of action will run from 17-20 November.
EPSU's affiliates in the prison services - FSC-CCOO, FeSP-UGT and ACAIP-USO - began their planned six-day strike campaign on 24 October. The unions are calling on the government to abide by its commitment to fund pay increases in the sector that are needed to deal urgently with staff shortages and to address the question of major pay disparities in different institutions. The strike action follows a long period of campaigning, lobbying and negotiating and the unions have agreed that further strikes will take place on 26 October with a further four days in November (6, 8 13 and 15).
Prison sector unions are planning a series of 24-hour strikes beginning on 24 October in protest at the withdrawal of a pay offer by the prison service. The unions have been campaigning together for several years to secure improved pay as a key measure to tackle staff shortages in the sector. Following the installation of a new government, the prison service offered to increase the prison pay bill by EUR 122.6 million over the next three years. The unions were angry and astonished when, at a meeting on 25 September, the head of the prison service announced that the offer was withdrawn on the
The FNV trade union for prison staff has called for an urgent meeting with prison service management to discuss the implications of a new report on staffing, safety and treatment of inmates. The union believes that the report, "Out of Balance", by the Justice and Security Inspectorate provides further evidence of its concerns over excessive workloads and inadequately trained staff. The union now wants the prison service to discuss permanent measures to tackle these problems building on the temporary arrangements that were agreed last year by the justice department and central works council.