- The following statement was released by Prison Officers Association Chairman Timothy Seon today – stay tuned for the rest of the REAL STORY on BermudaReal.com later – stay tuned…
The Prison Officers’ Association has been faced with unaddressed adverse matters pertaining to safety, security, and work conditions for over twenty (20) years.
The Progressive Labor Party and the One Bermuda Alliance have been well aware of the long standing issues and have done little to nothing to address them in a timely manner in the best interest of our Officers’ safety and health; either while as government or the opposition.
Further, the Commissioner of the Department of Corrections, Lieutenant Colonel Edward Lamb, was seconded to another government department, without prior notice, for what was to be nine (9) months. He is now on his second secondment in another government department.
It has been well over a year since his departure, with no official correspondence on his position, and as such the direction and command within the department has been inconsistent and lacking.
Officers have been continuing to work in unfavorable conditions for far too long in the best interest of the inmate and public safety. It must be highlighted that the POA members are working from a Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) of 2008.
There has also been no increase in salary for a decade, inclusive of any allowance for cost of living adjustments. The Prison Officers’ Association has been actively engaged in negotiations with the Public Service Negotiations Team (PSNT) since 2016.
The POA has been stewards of good faith and has followed the process of negotiations accordingly. Unfortunately the same cannot be said of the PSNT.
The POA recently discovered in discussions that the PSNT did not have a mandate to negotiate in 2016-2017 and has not met with management of Corrections to discuss the CBA proposals since March 2018. We have requested and arranged several talks with the Minister of National Security, Wayne Caines, as well as Permanent Secretary Collingwood Anderson, and the Senior Management at The Department of Corrections with regards to the outstanding matters.
We have only received platitudes, no actions, just promises for 20 years.
The POA Executive has been directed by the membership. The members have voted to Work to Rule. Simply put, our members will abide and work by the terms and conditions of the CBA. This is not industrial action but what a disciplined services does – work to the rules and regulations that govern the service.
The Permanent Secretary has received documentation confirming a Vote of No Confidence against six members of the Department of Corrections’ Senior Management Team as voted on, almost unanimously, by our POA members.
The Prison Officers’ Association comprises men and women to engage every day in arduous work unlike the average job. This is inclusive of caring for mentally ill inmates for which there is no adequate support or housing. We believe that we are truly the forgotten service. We recognize every day that one of us may not return home to our families. The POA requests the respect and remuneration so belatedly forgotten and yet well deserved.