Staff at Bruges Prison to begin 24-hour strike on Thursday night

Staff at Bruges Prison to begin 24-hour strike on Thursday night
Bruges prison. Credit: Belga

A 24-hour strike will take place at Bruges Prison from 22:00 on 3 March to 22:00 on 4 March as a result of no solution coming forth from discussions with authorities, the liberal trade union VSOA announced.

VSOA's Eddy De Smedt said the strike notice was issued on Friday after no sufficiently acceptable solution was proposed at a meeting with the authorities on Thursday, following a series of attacks on guards, according to reports from Belga News Agency.

“After the past incidents, the unions have had enough and we cannot but send a signal," De Smedt said. “Our staff cannot be a punching bag for detainees and inmates.”

There has been a spate of serious attacks on guards at Bruges Prison in recent weeks. The unions also denounced a shortage of staff in the penitentiary’s psychiatric section, as well as the increasing number of internees.

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The unions also demanded training for staff to deal with such people and solutions to the problem.

"But no agreement was found for a full-fledged training," De Smedt told Het Nieuwsblad.

"The government only wants to offer a shortened training for working with internees. And in the short term, there is no solution for the problematic internees."

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