The FSC-CCOO trade union federation has attacked prison service management for the long-term failure to address the growing problem of violence against staff which has risen to historic highs. The union argues that the only measure taken in recent years was an action protocol that provides a response to attacks once they’ve happened but with no serious attempt to prevent violence in the first place. The FSC-CCOO cites the latest official statistics for the year 2022, which show that acts of physical aggression per thousand prisoners increased by 19% compared to 2021 and by over 110% since 2010
European Commission reports on the Working Time Directive, published on 15 March, reveal that Member States’ legislation is generally compliant, but that some problems remain in ensuring that the legislation is having full effect, particularly across all public services.
The FNV trade union is warning that government funding plans for prison services will have a major negative impact on staff and inmates. A recent report by consultants PwC says that an additional €398 million is needed to adequately finance services over the next 10 years. In response the government says it does not want to invest more than €170 million and so is effectively proposing a cut of €200 million. The FNV argues that the government approach will have serious implications for work pressure and safety. The union says that there have been staff shortages and high workloads for years
The Publisind trade union federation organised a protest rally on 17 August outside the Ministry of Labour to highlight a range of issues relating to the pay and pensions of its members in prisons and police services. The union is angry that a key law on salaries has not been fully implemented and is calling for a 15% pay rise for prison and police staff. The union points out that its members were essential to the efforts to tackle the COVID pandemic with many staff working very long hours to try to maintain services in the face of staff shortages of around 25%.
Trade Union rights project - Defending and strengthening trade union rights across the public services
Many of our members face restrictions on the right to organise, negotiate and take strike action. In some countries the limitations or complete bans impact particularly on uniformed staff –
The ACAIP-UGT, CCOO, CIG y CSIF trade unions representing prison staff have met with the interior minister and head of the prison service to discuss progress with legislation foreseen for 2021. The new law should include several key demands that unions have been campaigning for in recent years. These include a reform of the prison system and harmonisation of jobs across the sector, along with a reclassification of certain posts in the public sector pay structure to reflect the complexity of tasks in prison staff occupations.
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.
Fighting covid19 in prisons and detention centres in Europe: Protected prison workers – protected inmates
Based primarily on reports provided by the EPSU prison services network, EPSU has put together an update on COVID-19 in Europe’s prisons and other detention centres, as well as five policy recommendations to protect prison workers and those under their care.
The EPSU network of unions organising prison staff met on 6 December to discuss latest trends and challenges as well as opportunities to bring visibility in newly elected EU Parliament to working conditions in prisons and trade union alternatives for positive change.