Trade unions (ACV/CSC and ACOD/CGSP) organised a national strike in the prisons service on 12 December in protest at underfunding, badly maintained buildings, lack of staff, overcrowding and the resulting safety issues arising from this deteriorating situation. Understaffing has lead to many employees doing extra hours and a massive number of hours of overtime that remains to be recouped. The unions also have issues with contracts, provision of uniforms and a lack of strategy in the justice system. It is estimated that prisons currently hold around 10000 in mates, exceeding capacity by 1700.
Prison staff take action over staffing and overcrowding
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(December 2016) Prison staff, members of the FP-CGIL and UIL-PA federations, took part in a national demonstration on 29 November in protest at serious understaffing and assaults on staff. The unions argue that urgent action is needed to deal with dilapidated prisons and the long working hours and stress that are leading to sickness absence and additional pressures of work. They say that problems have been building up for years with cutbacks and lack of investment.
Prison staff unions in Belgium, France and Spain have been taking or are planning industrial action or demonstrations over staffing and pay. In France, the unions have raised concerns about prison overcrowding, violence against staff, the need for a significant increase in prison officer numbers and improvements to pay and conditions. After failing to get a satisfactory response from the justice ministry, the unions are calling for an extension of the action across the country. In Belgium, the issue is the failure of the government to adhere to a 2016 agreement on staffing levels and further