Custody staff return to work
Custody staff at Westgate Correctional Facility returned to work yesterday afternoon after a three-day strike over staff shortages.
Representatives from the facility’s senior management team and the Prison Officers Association reached a resolution that resulted in officers go back to work at about 2pm.
Under the agreement an action plan has been established to help address staffing concerns, and a committee, which will include frontline officers, has been established to better handle the staff shortage. Timothy Seon, chairman of the POA, told The Royal Gazette he was pleased that an amicable resolution had been reached.
“There are a lot of issues that stem out of the staff shortage and these have been longstanding issues, so the membership understands there is not an overnight fix,” Mr Seon said.
“We also had concerns about the facility: circulation within the premises and the temperature, and also mould. We will continue to work with occupational health and more proficient efforts will now be made to eradicate mould from the facility.
“Unfortunately, at this point, we have not had the chance to sit down with the new minister but hope we can soon.
“At present we have 180 officers when we require around 240 and this has put pressure on our members, who felt that it had come to a head and therefore decided to take action.
“We now have an action plan to move forward and a committee where custody staff will be involved in handling the staff shortage.”
About 20 custody staff took part in the industrial action that began on Friday and continued over the weekend.
The strike meant that visits by inmates’ families had to be cancelled and prisoners had to forgo outside recreation, however the prison continued to run smoothly.
Mr Seon added: “I would like to thank the members of staff that continued to provide a service over the last three days and also thank the inmates who allowed the process to take place without incident.
“I’d also like to thank the officers and the senior administrative team for moving this situation forward and being progressive in dealing with the issues.”
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