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Strike Just Start For Work Party Supervisors

Strike Just Start For Work Party Supervisors

“NUPE Work Party Supervisors held their first strike ever against their employer the Department of Corrections on Saturday,” Janice Gemmell, Organiser for the National Union of Public Employees said today. “Direct action will continue with a protest outside the Corrections Office in Christchurch on Monday.”

Janice Gemmell was commenting on the first rolling strike by Work Party Supervisors who supervise offenders doing community work under the 2002 Sentencing Act (former Periodic Detention). The without notice strike saw about 250 detainees at four Christchurch centres left without supervisors on Saturday. It is understood that detainees were given one hour’s credit off sentences instead of the eight they would have done and then sent home. Supervisors gathered and protested outside the Pages Road (Aranui) detention centre during the morning.

“The strike action was called because our employer appears to be trying to accommodate the low compliance level of sentenced offenders into our Collective Employment Agreement,” says Janice Gemmell.

“Work Party Supervisors report to us that compliance for community work is only around 40% nationally. A sentenced offender can fail to turn up for weeks before they are breached.”

“The problem for Work Party Supervisors is that when the offenders do not turn up, the Department just send home the staff employed to supervise them that day,” says Janice Gemmell.

“A Work Party Supervisor is rostered to work 9 hours a day yet the department can send them home and only pay them for three hours. It is unacceptable that instead of chasing up offenders they send home employees. Work Party Supervisors just want to know what they will earn each week just like other Permanent staff and get treated the same as other employees within the Department. ”

“After the Monday protest in Christchurch, our Committee will be considering which centre throughout New Zealand to protest at next,” says Janice Gemmell. “The Department can stop future strike action by providing enough resources to ensure compliance and settling the Agreement fairly.”

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