There has been a sharp rise in the number of Coronavirus cases in Scottish prisons. This has been a matter of great concern for us, and we have been in constant communication with our members and employers to ensure staff welfare is protected.
This week Community secured a number of important changes for our Justice members to protect their health and improve their conditions at an increasingly challenging time.
We have spoken to the senior teams across at each prison. We have also agreed Enhanced Rates of pay for our members via Shift Conversions and Additional Hours which will be critical in order to keep the operational solution and reward the workforce for their sacrifice.
We have secured a controlled unlock across all prisons to reduce crowding thus lowering the Coronavirus risk to both prisoners and our members.
We further supported our members in Addiewell in their refusal to undertake duties due to inadequate security staffing levels to ensure safety until the employer finally conceded and brought additional support in.
We will be continually monitoring the situation in prisons over the coming days and weeks. We have made it abundantly clear that the safety of our members remains paramount.
We have written an urgent letter to the Justice Minister calling on him to prioritise our members across the Justice Sector in Scotland in relation to testing regimes and vaccinations. We are also pressing the Scottish Government to introduce proper testing regimes and priority vaccinations for our members across their prisons.
Too often during the pandemic, prison workers have been the forgotten emergency service – working to keep the public safe in high risk environments. Community will continue to fight for our members across the Justice sector.