Prison officers walk out on talks

The prison officers union say its members have walked out of meetings today with senior Corrections Department management in protest at proposals to double bunk cells in the country's four newest prisons.

The officers walked out of meetings at Auckland Women's Prison and at Spring Hill Prison today, said Corrections Association president Beven Hanlon tonight.

"At a time when public servants are being told there is no money and there will be no pay increases, the prison officers were being told by a highly paid private consultant that their workloads were going to increase, they were going to be placed in higher risk situations and there will be no reward."

When the Government was asking for constraint, the prison officers could not understand why senior corrections management needed to employ a private consultant to do their talking for them, he said.

Mr Hanlon said the issue of double bunking of cells that were only designed to hold one prisoner was of grave concern to corrections officers and nursing staff, as the proposal would increase the risks for staff in a job that was already a difficult environment.

The Corrections Department was unable to respond immediately to the union's claims.

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