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Survey: One in three prison staff trying to leave

4 March 2005

Survey: One in three prison staff trying to leave

A third (31%) of prison staff are actively seeking other employment and nine out of ten (91%) say they want to quit the Corrections department, a nationwide survey published by the Public Service Association (PSA) today reveals.

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

PSA National Secretary Richard Wagstaff said the findings support the union’s efforts to improve the quality and pay for prison jobs.

“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 survey of prison staff, Life on the Inside, reveals PSA members are demoralised and feel undervalued and unsafe with most looking for alternative employment. A third of those surveyed are applying for other jobs or talking with recruitment consultants about other work.

“Reasons for leaving cited by those responding to the survey include the availability of better paid alternative employment, workplace stress and family unfriendly hours of work.

“There needs to be a realisation by the government and senior staff within the Department of Corrections that unless pay, conditions and the quality of work are significantly improved significant numbers of the existing workforce will leave making recruitment an even bigger problem.

“The PSA is committed to working with the Department of Corrections to resolve the issues our survey identifies. We will be using the survey in a joint working party being established to review recruitment and retention in the prison service,” Richard Wagstaff said.


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