Silverwater prison guards walk off the job in ‘wildcat strike’
Guards at Silverwater Jail have walked off the job in a snap strike.
Officers at the jail’s Metropolitan Remand and Reception Centre (MRRC) will stop work for 24 hours over disciplinary issues and ‘benchmarking’ reforms.
All inmates are secure in their cells and the prison is being run by a skeleton staff.
Corrective Services NSW has recently implemented ‘performance targets’ ‘benchmarking’, described as “the development and implementation of budgets… [which] will support efficiency improvements in all public prisons”.
The Public Service Association (PSA) says this is effectively just job cuts and means officers are being pushed to breaking point.
Visits canceled due to snap strike by Corrective Services NSW staff at Silverwater. Families (many travelled long distances) told nothing, left waiting outside from 8am until 930am. Furious.
— In Prison Australia (@Prisonblogger) January 29, 2019
PSA General Secretary Stewart Little tells Ray Hadley prisoners making vexatious complaints are immediately believed over experienced and respected guards.
“Whenever they allegedly put a foot wrong they seem to be suspended.
“It just seems every time an officer seeks to have an inmate comply with a direct order that they’re being subject to discipline.”
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In a statement to The Ray Hadley Morning Show (see full statement below), Corrective Services NSW says it has “taken the matter to the Industrial Relations Commission for urgent resolution”.
“This wildcat strike is in breach of the normal consultation and dispute resolution agreements between Corrective Services NSW and the Public Service Association.”
General Secretary Little sheds light on the latest incident that has seen the situation explode into strike action.
“My understanding is another officer has been served with a please explain and it was a bit like the straw that broke the camel’s back and they’ve just had enough.”
FULL STATEMENT – CORRECTIVE SERVICES NSW
“Custodial staff at the Metropolitan Remand and Reception Centre at Silverwater walked off the job for 24 hours this morning. It is understood they are unhappy with how Corrective Services manages allegations of staff misconduct.
This wildcat strike is in breach of the normal consultation and dispute resolution agreements between Corrective Services NSW and the Public Service Association. CSNSW has taken the matter to the Industrial Relations Commission for urgent resolution.
All inmates are secure in their cells and the prison is being run by a skeleton staff. Public security has not been compromised, but as the MRRC is Sydney’s major reception and remand prison, there may be an impact on the police and courts.
In the meantime, all visits to the prison have been cancelled and construction of a major new facility there has been halted.”