PSA ordered to guarantee minimum prison staffing levels during protest

An industrial dispute between the State Government and the Public Service Association of SA (PSA) before the South Australian Employment Tribunal in relation to planned state-wide industrial action has been resolved, with the union ordered to guarantee minimum staffing levels in prisons tomorrow.


In a ruling Treasurer Rob Lucas has described as a “victory for the community and common sense’’, Commissioner Paul McMahon late last night issued orders to the PSA after hearing evidence from both representatives of the Department for Correctional Services and the union.

The PSA, since Thursday, had refused to guarantee minimum staffing levels in SA prisons during tomorrow’s planned protests, prompting the State Government to lodge an industrial dispute under the Fair Work Act 1994 - fearing for public, Corrections staff and prisoner safety.

This prompted two full days of talks between the parties in the Tribunal.

“The outcome of last night’s hearing is a welcome result and represents a victory for the community and common sense,’’ said Treasurer Rob Lucas.

“We’ve said all along the Government respects the union’s right to protest but we simply couldn’t accept a situation that put public safety at risk.

“Commissioner McMahon’s orders will ensure minimum critical staffing levels in prisons are maintained during their members’ planned industrial action.”

Under the order, minimum staffing arrangements will apply from the start of day shift tomorrow (8am) and conclude at the end of first watch (midnight).

The Government understands some prisoners will be in lockdown for up to 40 hours.

The PSA has until 12 noon today to advise its members of the order.

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