News State NSW News NSW supermax prison guards ordered back to work after walk-off

NSW supermax prison guards ordered back to work after walk-off

Goulburn supermax
Australia's toughest jail is in lockdown after guards walked off the job. Photo: ABC
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Prison guards across NSW have been ordered back to work after a strike began over alleged increasing violence.

Those guarding the state’s most dangerous criminals at Goulburn supermax were among those to start striking about midday on Friday before staff in other prisons, the courts and prisoner transport also walked off the job.

But an Industrial Relations Commission ruling on Friday afternoon ordered them back to work on Saturday.

The Public Service Association said officers “understandably” walked off the job after increased violence this week.

They claim a guard was hospitalised after an assault on Friday morning, another was attacked with urine and faeces on Thursday and two were attacked on Sunday.

A judge’s recent decision to reverse an inmate’s 20-month sentence extension over a prison officer assault also played a role, the union says.

“Offenders have heard the signal loud and clear, and it is now believed it’s open season for bashing guards in jail,” PSA general secretary Stewart Little said in a statement.

“We need to be very clear: if you assault a prison officer who’s in the course of their duties then you get extra jail time.”

Corrective Services NSW said the Goulburn prison was being run by a skeleton staff with all visits cancelled and inmates confined to their cells.

A spokeswoman said staff safety and security was its highest priority and it was concerned about the recent District Court judgement.

“We are actively seeking avenues of appeal,” she said in a statement.

“CSNSW considers any assault on staff as unacceptable and supports prosecutions of inmates who engage in this behaviour.”

Corrective Services said senior management and the union have a meeting scheduled for Monday to discuss staff safety.