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Prison guards on strike

Published on 30/03/2005

30 March 2005

BRUSSELS – Prison guards at several Belgian jails have taken strike action in support of a protest launched by colleagues at Ittre prison.

Guards at Ittre went on strike on Tuesday after a decree from the State Council that lifted disciplinary measures against three inmates who had assisted a jail break.

Prison wardens at the jail said they were not protesting the decree but were objecting to the way management at the jail had handled the situation.

“We do not object to the inmates being given rights, but it is unacceptable that the difficulties of our work are not taken into consideration,” said secretary general of the CGSP union Jean Lizen.

Staff at Lantin, Andenne, Nivelles, Saint-Gilles, Mons, Huy, Namur and Forest all walked out on Wednesday to show solidarity with Ittre.

According to Lizen, all 200 staff at Ittre decided at a general meeting not to return to work.

Police and civil protection officers will ensure security at the prison in the meantime.

Prison staff are demanding to talk to negotiators from the office of Justice Minister Laurette Onkelinx to resolve the situation.

The wardens have also demanded an apology for comments made on TV by Chantal Moreau, from the inmates council.

Moreau claimed on RTL-TV1 that a “climate of terror” ruled at Ittre.

Guards are now asking Minister Onkelinx to table new proposals to tackle problem inmates, which would include special prisons and better training for

Onkelinx said on Tuesday evening that sanctions could be applied to inmates in accordance with the decree issued by the council.

She added that new proposals were on the way concerning legal assistance and
that new training measures on conflict resolution would soon come into force.

[Copyright Expatica 2005]

Subject: Belgian news