A lack of action by the government has resulted in Tasmanian correctional officers voting to maintain industrial action work bans over the holiday period amid ongoing concerns about understaffing, mismanagement, assaults and daily lockdowns.
Officers have reiterated their call for an urgent meeting with Corrections Minister Elise Archer and Department Secretary Ginna Webster to address the Tasmanian Prison Service crisis which is near breaking point for staff and inmates.
Community and Public Sector Union secretary Tom Lynch said every day the prison crisis worsens yet the minister does nothing.
"She may as well be lying on a beach in Hawaii for all the good she is doing to address the crisis in our prison system," Mr Lynch said.
"Last Friday, for example, we saw the whole Risdon Prison complex locked down for the whole day and last Tuesday we saw several officers assaulted by by an inmate in maximum.
"What is her point as a minster if she does nothing."
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United Workers Union Tasmania spokeswoman Jannette Armstrong said correctional officers want to work collaboratively with management and the government to fix the systematic issues crippling the prison.
"Questionable management decisions have resulted in a number of critical incidents," Ms Armstrong said.
"Last week we saw two assaults on correctional officers. A few months ago we saw the high profile escape of one prisoner.
"The minister's response to that has been to spend thousands of dollars each day in overtime, staffing empty cells in reclassified sections of the Ron Barwick prison, while other areas of the prison remain in lockdown due to understaffing."
Ms Armstrong said the TPS was chronically understaffed because the government was choosing not to provide wages and workplace conditions to attract and retrain the correctional officers needed.
"The prison has been in some sort of lockdown almost every single day this year due to understaffing," she said.
Labor Rumney MLC Sarah Lovell said the situation at Risdon Prison was dire and had been for many months.
"Correctional officers are working in a pressure-cooker environment where the prison is in an almost constant state of lockdown because they don't have adequate resources to support those inmates," Ms Lovell said.
The government did not confirm if Ms Archer and Ms Webster would be meeting with corrections staff to discuss their concerns.
"The response to the most recent Correctional Officer Agreement offer has been deferred by the unions and the government looks forward to exploring the offer with unions early in the new year," a government spokesperson said.
"The current offer is for a one-year agreement which includes a 2.3 per cent increase from 1 December 2019 and will allow for further discussions on a long-term structure for officers.
"The most recent offer follows the rejection of an offer which would have seen most correctional officers receive increases of between 3 and 4 per cent more than other Department of Justice staff.
"This offer still means correctional officers are 1 per cent better off than other DoJ employees across the three Agreements from 2016, but delays discussion on a restructure."
The spokesperson said the government has recently engaged nine additional correctional officers and the TPS was currently recruiting.
"The government is confident that more than 30 new correctional officers will commence training in January 2020, with a total of a further 90 correctional officers by the end of 2020," the spokesperson said.