Prison negotiations resume

MANAGEMENT of Sale’s Fulham Correctional Centre and union members will resume their negotiations at Fair Work Australia at 2.15pm today.

According to a Fulham spokesperson, a finish line for negotiations is still nowhere in sight.

“We just don’t know,” the spokesperson said, adding negotiations commenced at 2.30pm on Thursday and were ongoing for several hours.

“The prison will run as normal over the weekend, which means there will be visits; the unions haven’t lifted the (work) bans.”

When asked to comment on speculation prison staff had been stood down by management, the spokesperson said this was not the case.

“The (Community and Public Sector Union’s) bans mean staff are refusing to undertake some activities,” he said.

“When this happens, the prison has to go into lockdown.”

With regard to recent reports of prisoners’ jail terms being reduced because of the lockdown, another spokesperson from Corrections Victoria said a maximum of four days could apply to affected prisoners.

“This is because prisoners have been inconvenienced; because of the lockdowns, they have been locked in their cells for longer periods,” the spokesperson said.

“However, this is also dependent on a wide range of considerations, such as how long they have been in prison and what they’re in for; the public have nothing to worry about.”

Meanwhile, the Fulham Correctional Centre spokesperson said staff of the prison, including a fair number of Latrobe Valley residents, were seeking a pay increase, 40 per cent increase in staff and 120 work days compared to 140 at present.

He said with regard to staff to prisoner ratios, staff at the correctional centre worked about four hours longer per shift compared to government prison workers.

A riot at the prison in January, where some inmates attacked officers, had exposed staff shortfalls at the prison, according to media reports.

There are an estimated 800 prisoners at the centre, with an average of one prison staff per 40 inmates, according to the reports.

The prison is managed by the GEO Group.