Prison talks continue

THE GEO Group and the Community and Public Sector Union have two weeks to thrash out agreements on outstanding issues, before a Fair Work Commissioner makes the decisions for them.

With the first conciliation meeting between the two parties to be held in Melbourne this Thursday, the outstanding issues to be agreed on include pay rises for employees at Fulham Correctional Centre, as well as backdating any pay rises, public holiday compensation, including catering staff in the agreement, and the inclusion of a discipline clause in the agreement.

The other major issue, staffing levels, will be addressed separately in voluntary arbitration later this year.

Both the GEO Group and the CPSU are hopeful the negotiation and conciliation meetings with Fair Work Australia will be successful, as both parties are hoping to avoid having a commissioner hand down recommendations on unresolved issues — which, if made, both parties will have to abide by.

CPSU representative Andrew Capp said union members were optimistic the negotiations would swing in their favour.

“We’re looking to put in our arguments, and we’re confident that they will be well received by Fair Work Australia,” Mr Capp said.

Mr Capp said the CPSU had since lifted its bans and industrial action, a move which was appreciated by Fulham Correctional Centre management.

“Management of the Fulham Correctional Centre has welcomed the lifting of all bans at the prison by prison officers and their agreement to negotiate outstanding issues at Fair Work Australia during the next fortnight,” A GEO spokesman said on Friday afternoon.