The government has not been able to offer the prison guards on strike anything, Federal Minister Willy Borsus (MR) said on Sunday. He was speaking to the (RTL-TVi) program “It’s not Sunday every day” (C’est pas tous les jours dimanche).
“I think we have exhausted all possibilities within the government”, said Mr Borsus. He did say that negotiations with penitentiary officer Unions have been going on for months.
On Wednesday, Unions and Justice Minister Koen Geens reached a protocol agreement that involves recruiting 480 extra staff, including 386 penitentiary officers. That’s 75 more than the protocol agreement reached on the 6th May. It was accepted in Flanders, but rejected by the French-speaking Unions.
In 2016, every penitentiary officer preparing to leave will be replaced, until there is the equivalent of 7,075 fulltime (compared to 7,241 in 2014) officers. This was confirmed by Mr Geens said at the end of the negotiations. The strike movement has affected Walloon and Brussels prisons. Officers at Andenne and Dinant have already rejected the protocol. There are more votes expected on Monday.