herald

Monday 21 January 2019

Officers walk out in prison staff row

PRISON Officers are due to stage a one-hour protest for the second day in a row, as part of a dispute over staffing levels.

Officers at Cloverhill Prison walked out yesterday as prisoners remained locked in their cells for an extra hour.

The Prison Officers Association (POA) accuse the Irish Prison Service (IPS) of breaching local agreements on staff levels.

The association has raised concerns over the health and safety of its members, who it claims are attacked in jails.

Stoppage

There were productive talks in the Labour Relations Commission (LRC), which concluded positively late on Wednesday night.

The IPS has hit out at the association for going ahead with the work stoppage between 2pm and 3pm yesterday, in light of the positive talks.

"It is occurring after extensive engagements which have taken place this week at the Labour Relations Commission, which resulted in the acceptance by both parties of a conciliation agreement drafted by the Commission," it said in a statement.

But deputy general secretary of the POA, Jim Mitchell, said that while talks had been productive, there were outstanding issues that were due to be discussed next Tuesday.

He said that the talks were unnecessarily delayed.

Mr Mitchell also said that, for procedural reasons, the work stoppage could not be called off.

Officers at Cloverhill Prison are to stop work for one hour again this afternoon, while one-hour stoppages are due to take place for two days next week at Mountjoy Prison.

The POA has said that management expects them to continue to provide full services with insufficient staff.

hnews@herald.ie

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