Unions refuse to rush into agreement on minimum service in prisons
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    Unions refuse to rush into agreement on minimum service in prisons

    © Belga
    Belgian prison system receives strong criticism.
    © Belga

    Prison officers union representatives are angry with Minister of Justice Koen Geens (CD&V: Flemish Christian Democrats), whom they accuse of wanting to rush into a minimum service in prisons without listening to staff grievances. 

    In March a law was voted in establishing a guaranteed minimum service in prisons. The application regulations, however, still have to be negotiated with the unions. Geens again summoned the unions this week for this purpose. 

    “If we have to meet urgently, we could also discuss the chronic lack of staff,” ACV (Christian Socialist Union) Secretary Filip Dudal said. “Nothing is done to make the job more attractive. Too few new colleagues are arriving, and this has consequences on transfers, with long delays before working in the prison of one’s choice.” 

    The socialist union shares the criticism of the ACV and repeats that it remains opposed to the minimum service itself. “We will do everything to boycott the minimum service. An occupancy rate of 60% is required as minimum service during a strike. This is simply the abolition of the right to strike” socialist public sector union ACOD (CSPF) Secretary Gino Hoppe protested. 

    Lastly, Unions mention other issues such as agents’ leave debts and the lack of work clothes.

    The Brussels Times