Guards in detention facilities in Belgium, including personnel in Saint-Gilles and Forest prisons, kicked-off a 48-hour strike in protest of their working conditions late on Monday. Between 80 to 90 percent of personnel has taken part in the strike, led by public service group CSC and trade union CGSP, according to local media reports.
Prison guards aim to bring attention to their working conditions and denounce overpopulation in prisons and inadequate infrastructure, as well as to demand authorities increase personnel hires.
Trade union representatives —reportedly on-site in Saint-Gilles prison— also seek to denounce a lack of commitment on the part of Belgian authorities, with one CGSP member calling out Justice Minister Koen Geens, already in hot water after the suspected murder of a 23-year-old woman by a convicted sex offender.
“The minister of justice has not respected any of the agreements he signed on 2016,” Laurent Lardinois told BX1, adding that neither the administration nor the cabinet have respected their commitments.”
During the strike, which started at 22:00 on Monday and will end late Wednesday, inmates will not be able to receive visitors or take part in any activities.