PSA members have rejected the Department of Corrections’ offer to settle the Prisons’ Collective Agreement, the union said today.
PSA Lead Organiser, Stella Teariki said 97% of members who attended ratification meetings had voted against the employer’s offer, meaning the bargaining process will head into mediation tomorrow.
The union has four main objections to the Department’s offer:
– the offer of a pay increase is too low;
– the issue of pay for weekend and night work is not adequately addressed;
– staff working in prisons need more than the statutory 10-days sick leave; and
– recognition of the extra training Corrections Officers does not happen quickly enough.
“Members have strongly sent us a message that they want to see a more realistic movement on pay rates. They also want recognition of the need to pay staff properly for weekend and night work to ensure safe staffing levels over nights and weekends,” Ms Teariki says.
“The sick leave provisions need to be enhanced as Corrections staff often work closely in cramped overcrowded conditions with people who often have poor health.
“The PSA agrees to the concept of professionalising the role of a custodial worker, however, how this is recognised and rewarded requires more detail from the Department,” she said.
PSA National Sector Lead (Justice Sector), Willie Cochrane says the PSA represents more than 4,200 workers across Corrections involving many different occupations needed to keep Corrections running and prisoners safe.
“Our members include custodial staff such as Corrections Officers and non-custodial staff who provide other support and work with inmates in a variety of roles. The PSA also represents health professionals working in prisons,” Mr Cochrane said.