|Six-hour stoppage at GEO-run Junee Correctional Centre
|Junee Correctional Centre – Park Lane, Junee NSW 2663
|Friday 28 April at 12:30pm
|UWU coordinator Ian Madgwick and correctional officers
|Ian Madgwick – 0429 853 223
United Workers Union (UWU) correctional officers will walk-off the job at Junee Correctional Centre today for six hours following a drawn-out wage dispute and continued unsafe staffing levels.
The union has been bargaining with the private prison operator, GEO, since December last year and the company has responded by offering a wage increase of 3.25 percent in the first year which is less than half the rate of current inflation.
Meanwhile the US-based prison group continues to post ever-increasing profits, doubling their income from 2021 to 2022.
UWU coordinator Ian Madgwick said the privately-run facility was profiting from NSW taxpayers while those working at the prison were falling behind during the cost-of-living crisis.
“Our members have turned up through COVID and staff shortages so that GEO can keep their lucrative contract,” Mr Madgwick said.
“It’s disgusting that a huge multi-national corporation based in Florida is ripping off the local Junee and regional NSW community by denying a fair wage rise to correctional officers.
“Most shifts are severely understaffed, particularly on weekends and nights with no managerial support. It is getting too dangerous. Workers are at heightened risk of assault and GEO’s solution to combat the short-staffing is to offer people what amounts to a year-on-year pay cut.
“Correctional Officers have reported that some nightshifts are going without a nurse, leaving COs as first responders to medical emergencies for what amounts to around $30-an-hour.”
A correctional officer from the site said the workers’ wage claim was a modest one.
“We are not asking for much we just need to make ends meet,” they said.
“We are really struggling to get by with cost of living right now. A lot of us with families are living paycheck to paycheck.
“We have been saving for our first home, but with cost of living blowing out, we are just worried about covering rent and bills.”
UWU wage claim is currently 5 percent in the first year and 3 percent in the following two years, while GEO have offered 3.25 percent and 3 percent in the following two years.
Members will also take other forms of industrial action such as refusing overtime over the weekend.
UWU Media Contact: 1300 898 633, [email protected]