Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Prison officers to stage 24-hour strike

NSW prison officers will stage a 24-hour strike over fears the government is planning to privatise prisons and prisoner transport services.

NSW Public Service Association (PSA) general secretary John Cahill says officers will stop work at 10pm (AEDT) on Tuesday and hold a protest rally outside NSW parliament on Wednesday morning.

Mr Cahill says the government is market testing plans to sell off Parklea and Cessnock correctional centres, as well as aspects of court security and prisoner escort.

"Our concern is that Treasury will push to have these vital services privatised in the November 11 mini-budget as they search for cost savings," he said.

"The message to the government from frontline prison officers is that this proposal would undermine security both within jails and in the broader community."

Mr Cahill said privatisation of prisons interstate and overseas had shown that assaults on officers had increased and security had been compromised.

"Prison officers are seeking a clear indication from the NSW government that privatisation is not on the agenda.

"The message to the premier (Nathan Rees) is that the state's prison service is at breaking point and the proposed response of privatisation and casualisation will only make matters worse."

Comment was being sought from the government.

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