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Prison guards from the privately-run Mount Gambier Prison are taking industrial action in response to unsafe staffing levels at the G4S facility.

From 4:00pm today most of the 100-strong workforce will stop work for 8 hours, leaving behind only a skeleton crew to ensure the safety of the prisoners and the community.

Workers are seeking a higher staff-to-inmate ratio to ensure a safer workplace; they are also pursuing a significant wage increase in-line with cost-of-living pressures.

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.

UWU Allied coordinator Louise Dillon said the low staffing levels at the prison were a disaster waiting to happen.

“One of the benefits to having a prison in your backyard is the regional job opportunities the facility provides, however G4S seem determined on minimising the community benefit and decreasing security by keeping staff levels low,” Dillion said.

“These workers have a dangerous job, and it doesn’t need to be made more dangerous for the sake of increased profits for a multi-national corporation, G4S. Workers deserve to be compensated fairly for the heightened risk.

“The cost of living in Mount Gambier keeps going up. Fuel and housing costs are spiralling out of control, yet workers are begging for scraps. Hopefully the company will take this action seriously and return to the table with a more respectful offer.”

G4S latest figures showed the company recorded an after-tax profit of around $300-million according to its 2020 Annual Report.


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