(30 September 2016) Starting this week, the SNLP, Romania’s largest prison workers union, has launched a series of protest actions over the failure of the government to compensate massive amount of overtime and to increase staffing in the country’s prisons that fall short of 8000 staff.
EPSU that represents 8 million public service workers including in prison services across Europe, expresses its full solidarity with SNLP.
It urges the Romanian government to respond to the union’s legitimate demands, as follows:
- increased staffing levels: the Government itself recognises that in order to respect its own regulations and ensure the good functioning of prisons there is today a shortage of 8000 staff in correctional services. Despite slight reduction of prison overcrowding over the past years, the situation is again very acute with a lack of staff that hampers the safety of staff and inmates, let alone the effective rehabilitation of inmates.
- time off in lieu for overtime; Romania’s 12.000 prison staff accumulate yearly more than 1 million extra hours, out of which half are never compensated. In Romania, overtime can be only compensated by time off in lieu but in a context of understaffing, workers are in practice doing more work for free.
- Reactivation of the social dialogue and implementation of the collective agreements in prison services.
Depending on the government’s reaction, the unions, that represent 80% of all prison staff, will protest in front of the country’s prisons and justice ministry and exert their right to refuse overtime for an undetermined period.
EPSU urges Romania’s Justice minister to respect the fundamental workers’ right to be, if not paid, at least compensated for overtime with time off in lieu and ensure sufficient staffing in prisons as is required by law for the benefit of workers, inmates and society at large.