Prison officers meet to discuss department’s dismal EBA offer

Prison Officers at Hakea, Casuarina and Bandyup Prisons will meet today to discuss the Department of Corrective Services’ offer of a new enterprise bargaining agreement.

The Officers will attend hour-long special ‘branch meetings’ outside the prison gates at each of the prisons.

For months now Prison Officers have been calling for proper staffing levels, new prison facilities to deal with chronic overcrowding in the prison system and better pay and conditions.

WA Prison Officers’ Union Secretary John Welch said the union was disappointed by the Department’s offer presented at a meeting on Tuesday but the union would put it forward for discussion with the officers at today’s meetings.

“Prison Officers have been waiting three months to sit down with the government to discuss our concerns, finally yesterday we got that opportunity and frankly the government’s offer was underwhelming.

“Today’s meeting will consider how to respond to the government’s offer.

“The State Government will tell you that they didn’t have to speak with us until December 11, because the current EBA specifically mentions that date.

“That date was included to ensure that the parties could not avoid starting negotiations any later than 6 months before the end of the current EBA.

“It didn’t preclude the Department from opening talks in time to ensure the officers’ concerns are addressed prior to the State Election.

“Prison Officers are angry that the State Government has been dragging their feet and done little to address the concerns we have raised in relation to overcrowding, pay and working conditions,” said Mr Welch.

The meetings will take place outside the front gates of Bandyup Prison at 12.00, and outside both Hakea and Casuarina Prisons at 12.30pm.

Around 100 officers are expected at the Hakea Prison meeting, which will be held under cover if the weather is inclement. Media outlets are welcome to attend.

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