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Unions will “submit, not defend” proposals for prisons to supporters

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After consultations on Monday morning with the cabinet of Minister of Justice Paul Van Tigchelt (Open VLD), the unions will submit the proposals on the table to their supporters. “The supporters decide whether the strike notice is activated or not,” says Frank Conings, federal justice secretary of ACV Public Services. “We are going to present the proposals, not defend them.”

Source: BELGA

Yesterday at 3:39 PM

The unions submitted a strike notice for a 24-hour strike in Belgian prisons from 10 pm on March 14, to address overcrowding in Belgian prisons. This overcrowding has led to staff in eight prisons refusing to accept any new detainees. This was also discussed during the consultation.

According to Conings, proposals have been made that are “a step in the right direction”. “We agree with the proposals,” he says. “They will have some impact. But the question is whether they are sufficient or immediately visible. Ultimately, it is what the staff wants.”

A similar sound is heard in the socialist union. “I am not going to reject the proposals, but I am not going to defend them either,” says Robbie De Kaey, federal secretary of ACOD Prisons. “I feel that the proposals are sincere. “There is no more that can be done at this point, there is no agreement on more within the wider government.”

In concrete terms, the intention is to extend the extended prison leave. In addition, it would be proposed to allow internees to flow better to forensic psychiatric centers and regular care. The cabinet expects an answer from the unions by Friday.

De Kaey says that they were also asked to reopen the prisons that are ‘locked’. “But it is now up to the government to communicate and ask the staff the question. The staff has to decide. But if they don’t do it, we will assist them.”

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