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Prison guards from the privately-run Mount Gambier Prison will walk-off the for the third time in a month after rejecting a sub-par agreement put to workers by management last week.

From midday until 5:00pm today, most of the 100-strong workforce will stop work, leaving behind only a skeleton crew to ensure the safety of the prisoners and the community.

G4S management continues to ignore serious safety issues that have been raised by the workforce that are centred around chronic understaffing.

UWU members’ four outstanding claims are:

  • Adequate staffing levels to be contained within the agreement.
  • Supervisors’ current conditions to be recognised in the agreement.
  • Reasonable meal provisions.
  • A modest wage increase.

United Workers Union Allied organiser Louise Dillion said correctional officers and support staff were frustrated that the multi-national corporation was not taking their concerns seriously.

“With the current short staffing, correctional officers have become default healthcare workers at the prison, for instance they are currently transporting prisoners to hospital, which is taking them away from their core duties,” Dillon said.

“We believe that a prison that houses more than 650 prisoners should have an infirmary with suitably qualified medical staff, likes nurses on every shift.

“G4S throughout the negotiations has failed in many areas, its greatest failure is to not recognise the solidarity and support the membership have with one another. This group of members are very determined and aware of what they want to achieve and will not be intimidated by a management team that does not treat their claims with the respect that they deserve.”

Workers have rejected the company’s offer of between 2.5 percent and 2.8 percent-per-annum on the basis it is effectively a pay cut. Australia’s consumer price index was sitting at three percent according to latest figures from the Bureau of Statistics.

G4S is a London Stock Exchange-listed company which generated an after-tax profit of around $300 million dollars last year.

UWU members will escalate action over the Christmas period until G4S returns to the negotiating table with a reasonable offer.



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