The General Federation of public sector trade unions (CGSP) announced that they have filed a strike notice on Thursday, for all prisons in the country. “We are missing 500 agents at least. Management must agree to discuss”, declared Michael Jacobs, federal secretary of the CGSP-AMiO (Administrations and Ministries). The union sent a letter to the Minister of Justice, Koen Geens, to articulate their demands. He now has four days to call in the union representatives, while the strike notice will be effective in 10 days.
According to figures communicated by the General Office of the Penitentiary System, Belgian prisons were missing 500 FTEs in November. “In the current context, it is unbearable”, complains Michael Jacobs. The socialist union requires practical solutions, for example the possibility of a “flexibonus” to offset premium losses incurred by agents when changing work schedule. “We were promised a royal decree on a leave prior our pension. We are still waiting. The agents must get some light on the end of their career”, adds Michael Jacobs.
Another source of discontent is the budget of 2016 allocated to the clothing of the prison staff. “One million euros is too low. If we make savings on such a thing, what about our obligation to wear a suit” asks the federal secretary. Finally, the CGSP-AMiO points out the administrative delays in transfer cycles for agents who want to change prison.
Christopher Vincent (Source: Belga)