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Prison officers still working to rule

The Prison Officers Association said last night it was not aware that a labour dispute notice had been gazetted by the Government and that a work-to-rule by prison staff continued.

A spokesman for the POA confirmed it was “not aware of any reported labour dispute as gazetted.”

The executive of the POA is expected to meet with David Burt, the Premier, today to discuss the dispute.

A notice was published by the Minister of Labour, Community Affairs and Sport on Monday that a labour dispute existed between the Department of Corrections and the Bermuda Prison Officers Association.

The notice said that “after its publication any lockout, strike, or irregular industrial action short of a strike is unlawful and any person who takes part in, incites or in any way encourages, persuades or influences any person to take part in, or otherwise acts in furtherance of, a lockout, strike or irregular industrial action short of a strike that is unlawful under this section is guilty of an offence”.

The move came after prison officers started a work-to-rule in a bid to get the Ministry of National Security to tackle concerns in the prison service, including safety, maintenance of buildings, salary rates and government employee health insurance payments.

Police officers are being used to carry out duties such as the transfer of prisoners to court.

Wayne Caines, the national security minister, announced prison officers had started a work-to-rule on April 29.

Mr Caines said the industrial action came after the POA met a day earlier to discuss “working conditions and outstanding issues with reference to the prison service”.

The industrial action came days after three prison officers were attacked by inmates at Westgate prison.