Prisons officers are now saying the illness which threatened police officers will affect them if their demands are not met by Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar. So said general secretary of the Prisons Officers Association, Burton Hill. He spoke outside the Prime Minister's office in St Clair.
"We cannot strike or take protest action. Officers can chose to work according to rules. That is their choice. Sometimes officers become very demotivated if they feel their demands aren't met," he said.
"Nobody is sick at this moment. We hope the illness that affected the Police Service does not go across to the prisons. We hope it is not some airborne disease," he said.
Yesterday, National Security advisor to the Prime Minister Gary Griffith met with the officers and accepted a letter which they wrote to Prime Minister. Hill said this was the association's fourth attempt to meet with the Prime Minister. "We anticipate within seven days that we will be called to discuss issues that currently affect the officers. Some of which are non-cash items. We decided to take this action today (yesterday) because we have not received the kind of response we deserve," he said. Hill said prisons officers were hoping for a positive response for a meeting.
"If we do not receive a response just as in the case of police officers, they may get agitated," Hill said.
He said Chief Personnel Officer Stephanie Lewis also offered a wage increase of five per cent in current negotiations. "We are presently engaged in negotiations with the CPO. Five per cent was her best offer. All other organisations have benefited from between 12 and 17 per cent increase in salary. Five per cent is unrealistic and unreasonable," Hill said. He said during the past year, three prisons officers were killed and other officers assaulted.