Prison talks to continue Wednesday

FURTHER protected industrial action took place at Fulham Correctional Centre today after talks at a Fair Work Australia conciliation hearing on Thursday broke down, with further talks scheduled for Wednesday.

A spokesman for the Community and Public Sector Union confirmed further industrial action commenced today after talks at FWA on Thursday “didn’t progress very far.”

The CPSU had given notive of the planned additional work bans on Monday in order to meet the requirement of three days notice, and planned to review the proposed protected industrial action following the conciliation hearing, requested by GEO Australia, at FWA on Thursday where minimum staffing levels and a pay increase were discussed.

The proposed “indefinite or periodic” protected industrial action, affecting Fulham Correctional Centre catering and custodial officers, included union members not entering the workplace prior to rostered start times, a ban on collecting or signing for keys or accruements until after the morning parade is completed and a ban on completion of formal monthly reviews of prisoners in their IMP files.

In addition, a stop work action of one hour duration by catering and custodial staff has been scheduled for Thursday, May 10 from 2am.

Fulham Correctional Centre general manager Troy Ittensohn said management would aim to minimise impact of additional bans.

“Unfortunately it is the prisoners who are being disadvantaged by these bans,” he said.

“We continue to negotiate in good faith.”

CPSU representative Andrew Capp denied the protected action compromised the safety and security of the centre.

“That is absolute rubbish,” he said.

“If they (management) have evidence (of compromising health and safety) they have the opportunity to go to FWA and have the (protected) action terminated and we will defend it vigorously.

“Management have made those accusations on a regular basis but ended up withdrawing it (application to terminate protected action), which says something.

“Right from the start we made a commitment, our members made a commitment, that we wouldn’t compromise health and safety, including that of the prisoners.

“Our members have been very disciplined.

“Every time we implement a ban 20, which is when there is insufficient staffing levels, we lock down the whole prison.

“We hold a muster, counting the prisoners to make sure they are all ok and we make sure they are fed if it happens to be during a meal time.”

The CPSU is seeking a fair pay rise, an agreement on minimum staffing levels, extra annual leave, back pay, inclusion of catering officers under the agreement and compensation for public holidays.