Several Queensland jails are in lockdown as staff walk off the job as part of a wage dispute.
Several Queensland jails are in lockdown as staff walk off the job as part of a wage dispute.

Prison strikes: Several jails locked down

PRISON officers have walked off the job today and will increase strikes over the weekend in a bitter wage dispute with the State Government.

Officers have held strikes at Borallon, Woodford and Capricornia jails today.

Prisoners will be locked down for extended periods and handled by skeleton crews.

Together Union industrial services director Michael Thomas told The Courier-Mail officers were fed up.

"Queensland correctional officers are paid less than any other correctional officer in Australia," he said.

"Queensland is spending less per capita on prisoners than any other state in Australia.

"Yet we still have massive overcrowding and an increase in assaults on staff and in prisoner on prisoner assaults.

"The government keep talking about how they want corrective services to be a 'top-tier public safety agency', our members are fed up with hearing that and not seeing the government respect what they do and come to the table with the sort of offer that would make it clear that they mean it when it comes to their staff," he said.

Mr Thomas said it appeared the government didn't want to make the investment in its own staff and warned strikes could continue for weeks.

The government has offered 2.5 per cent per year for three years but has also tried to introduce "operational staffing" which officers say will lead to Brenden Abbott-style jail breaks.

They say operational staffing means posts will not be filled if a staff member is absent.

The union has asked for 4 per cent per year.

They have also asked for an increase in sick days, equivalent to other "top-tier emergency services", such as the Queensland Ambulance Service.

Queensland Corrective Services say they are continuing to negotiate in good faith however Mr Thomas said no new offer had been tabled.