Prison guards walk off the job
FEARS that new management practices will lead to more jail breaks has led to prison staff walking off the job at three correctional facilities bordering Ipswich yesterday.
Staff at the Wolston, Brisbane and Brisbane Women's correctional centres at Wacol joined prison officers from other Queensland prisons in the industrial action.
Hundreds of prison officers across the state stopped work for an hour and unanimously passed a no-confidence motion against senior managers, the Queensland Public Sector Union (QPSU) said.
QPSU organiser Jason Hunt says they are protesting policy changes which they say have led to escapes, breaches in discipline and unsafe jails.
“What we are trying to stop is the degradation of safety procedures and standards at centres we have seen in recent times, which is leading to more escapes, lower levels of safety, and greater risks to the community,” Mr Hunt said.
“Queensland's correctional centres are in crisis and we need to see action from the Director General before the next escape.”
Commissioner for Corrections Kelvin Anderson said Queensland Corrective Services never had and never would introduce changes that put staff or security of a centre at risk.
“That is simply not the case. We are always prepared to talk with and listen to our staff,” Mr Anderson said.
He said a number of steps had been taken to improve security and rejected union claims of a weakening of discipline.
He said shift and roster changes had been under consultation with the union since July.
He also said these suggested changes are in line with the certified agreement.
“The Director General has indicated he would be happy to meet with the union and myself to fully discuss any issue they have,” he said
The State Opposition has called for an overhaul of how Queensland's prisons are managed in the wake of yesterday's industrial action by corrections officers.
“When the guards working on the inside have no faith in the prison system, what faith can Queenslanders have that our jails are as safe and secure as they should be?” Corrective Services spokesman Jarrod Bleijie said.
Staff at the Ipswich-based Borallon Correctional Centre did not take part in yesterday's industrial action.