Shock vote of no-confidence in M'boro prison stand-off
PRISON officers from Maryborough Correctional Centre have joined staff from jails across the state in passing no-confidence motions against commissioner Peter Martin and his deputies.
Repeated strike action at prisons across the state, undertaken by staff and the Together Union, has failed to bring the two sides any closer to resolving enterprise bargaining negotiations.
A spokeswoman for Queensland Corrective Services said negotiation with the Together Union continue in good faith. According to a report in the Courier-Mail, the strikes have led to Queensland Corrective Services texting staff at other jails.
Staff have reportedly been asked to work at other facilities and even been offered flights and accommodation.
A 2.5 per cent pay rise per year for three years is on the table, but the Together Union says the offer, along with a plan for "operational staffing" and cuts to entitlements, left staff worse off.
The union's industrial services director Michael Thomas said the state-wide strikes and motions were unprecedented.
"We've had years of increased overcrowding, increased assaults with band-aids put on rather than meaningful action," he said.
"Corrections are in crisis and the department and the minister appear to be dithering rather than fixing the problem."
When asked how the executive would respond to the no confidence motions a Queensland Corrective Services spokeswoman said it was continuing to negotiate with the union.
She said the government was "hopeful of reaching a positive agreement that progresses the professionalism of the organisation and provides officers with more support".
"One of the offers made by QCS would see 67 per cent of our custodial staff receive an immediate 6 per cent pay increase," she said.
"We respect the right of Together Union members to take protected industrial action as a part of the present enterprise bargaining negotiations, and recognise that votes of no confidence are a common feature of negotiation periods.
"We have an absolute requirement to ensure the safety and security of our prisons during this action, and we are looking to improve officer safety by ensuring critical roles are filled through the introduction of a Safe Staffing Model which includes greater flexibility to ensure we can deploy staff where they are most needed.
"The present agreement means that vital front-line roles within a prison can go unfilled, while officers are rostered on in less critical roles.
"The Safe Staffing Model would ensure that roles critical to safety and security are filled first in the event of staff shortages due to unexpected absences.
"It is essential that we attract and retain the right people and that we better invest in our experienced officers so they can progress their careers and help shape QCS for the future.
"This includes having a classification structure that provides and rewards ongoing professional development for our officers.
"The bargaining period also allows us the opportunity to provide a more flexible and family friendly workplace.
"We are seeking to introduce the opportunity for custodial staff to make use of part time and casual working arrangements, providing QCS and staff with greater flexibility, such as helping staff meet carers arrangements."