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PD Supervisors Deny Plan To Drop And Run

Friday 28 November 2003
MEDIA RELEASE

PD Supervisors Deny Plan To Drop And Run

“NUPE Work Party Supervisors deny Corrections Department allegations that they are currently planning to strike while on the job leaving detainees carrying out their community work sentences unattended,” Janice Gemmell, Organiser for the National Union of Public Employees said today. She was commenting on the attached letter given to NUPE members by Corrections Department managers.

“However our members note the irony that the Department is placing more and more serious offenders in unsupervised agency work in the community now,” says Janice Gemmell. “In any case, where leaving offenders unsupervised in the community would represent a health and safety risk to the community, our members would always take that into account before walking off the job.”

“Our first rolling strike by Work Party Supervisors who supervise offenders doing community work under the 2002 Sentencing Act (former Periodic Detention) was a without notice strike that saw about 250 detainees at four Christchurch centres left without supervisors on a Saturday. Supervisors gathered and protested outside the detention centre during the morning but did not take the offenders out and then leave them in the community.”

“It is important to remember why we have been on strike. Work Party Supervisors report to us that compliance for community work is only around 40% nationally. So 60% of offenders are wandering round on Saturdays (and other days) ‘unsupervised’ in the community anyway because they simply do not turn up. 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. The department would be better fixing this problem rather than reacting to rumours about supervisors leaving offenders. Staff should not be sent home.”

“Our members met yesterday and voted for more action this time throughout New Zealand,” says Janice Gemmell. “The Department can stop future strike action by providing enough resources to ensure compliance and settling the Agreement fairly.”

ENDS

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