Together branch Secretary Alex Scott (far left) addresses about 100 Wolston Correctional Centre officers who walked off the job.
Together branch Secretary Alex Scott (far left) addresses about 100 Wolston Correctional Centre officers who walked off the job.

Unprecedented action as prison crisis grows

PRISON officers have passed stunning no-confidence motions against commissioner Peter Martin and his deputies at jails across Queensland.

The Courier-Mail can reveal officers at every jail have passed the motions after repeated strikes over failed enterprise bargaining negotiations.

Officers are also fed up after it was revealed a convicted drug trafficker had held a lavish wedding at Palen Creek prison farm, serving his 30-plus guests Moreton Bay bugs, prawns and steaks.

The strikes have led to Queensland Corrective Services texting staff at other jails asking them to work, even offering them flights and accommodation.

"We the members and staff of Wolston Correctional Centre vote to make our voices heard in that we have no faith in the vision for the direction of this department and their capacity for creating positive outcomes for the future of Queensland Corrective Services," one motion read.

A 2.5 per cent pay rise per year for three years is on the table, but the Together union says the offer, along with a plan for "operational staffing" and cuts to entitlements, left staff worse off.

It says operational staffing is a model that leaves posts unfilled if someone is absent or sick and there are fears that understaffing could lead to another Brenden Abbott-style jail break.

The union's industrial services director Michael Thomas said the statewide strikes and motions were unprecedented.

"We've got rolling stoppages happening every day, two centres every day with no sign that it is going to abate," he said.

"We've had years of increased overcrowding, increased assaults with band-aids put on rather than meaningful action.

"Look at the lack of the action that's happening over the wedding at Palen Creek.

"Corrections are in crisis and the department and the minister appear to be dithering rather than fixing the problem."

Officers from other centres were asked to fill in in order for the facilities to meet minimum safety and security standards for staff and prisoners, according to QCS.

When asked how the executive would respond to the no confidence motions a QCS spokeswoman said it was continuing to negotiate with the union.

"One of the offers made by QCS would see 67 per cent of our custodial staff receive an immediate 6 per cent pay increase," she said.