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Corrections must provide relocation costs

PSA Press Release

18 February 2005

Corrections must provide relocation costs for Ohura Prison staff

The Public Service Association (PSA) says it will be vigorously pursuing significant relocation costs for staff at Ohura Prison in the King Country, which the government announced today will close in November.

The PSA is New Zealand’s largest state sector union, with a growing membership at the Department of Corrections.

PSA National Secretary Richard Wagstaff says the union does not oppose the closure of the ageing facility, but it is imperative that the Corrections Department does it all it can to hold on to experienced prison staff.

“The Ohura Prison is an ageing facility in an isolated rural environment. We support the development of a new, modern prison which offers better opportunities to rehabilitate inmates and better security for prison staff.

“However the Department of Corrections is facing a very large recruitment challenge. It needs to recruit 1,800 new staff in the next three years to cover for attrition and to staff new prisons as they are commissioned and additional beds within existing prisons.

“The current collective agreement only provides for redundancy when prisons close. Given the recruitment situation the department is facing this is completely inadequate.

“The department simply cannot let the existing 25 experienced staff who work at Ohura go, but it will have to be prepared to fully compensate staff for the cost of relocating to other prisons. The PSA intends immediately starting talks on the development of a significant relocation costs package,” Richard Wagstaff said.

ENDS

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