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.
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.
The three prison unions - FeSP-UGT, ACAIP and FSC-CCOO - organised a demonstration in Madrid on 24 September to coincide with an event organised by the prison service management to celebrate their patron saint. The unions highlighted the urgent staff shortages - around 3000 across the service - and the daily attacks against prison workers. They also raised issues such as the lack of negotiations and unilateral decisions by management and the need for pay to properly reflect the demands of the job.