Radio 2

Another 48-hour strike in the country’s prisons

Prison officers that are members of the Christian trade union ACV are staging at 48-hour strike. The union is demanding increased corona testing for inmates that have been allowed to leave prison temporarily, for example on home leave. Last week prison officers took strike action in protest at a relaxation of the rules on prison visits. The strike got under way at 6 am on Monday and will continue until 6 am on Wednesday.  The Christian trade union says that prisoners that have been allowed out of prison for a short time are being insufficiently screened for potential coronavirus infection.


ACV’s Alain Blancke told VRT News that "It is currently the case that inmates that return are only seen by a doctor within the first 24 hours. It they don’t display any symptoms they are allowed back to their cell among the other inmates and there is no preventative quarantine.

But of cause there are inmates that return and are infected, but display no symptoms.” Last week the socialist public service union ACOD led a strike in the prisons against the relaxation of the rules on prison visits. Talks with staff at the Justice Minister’s office and Prison’s Service management resulted in the reinstallation of plexiglass shields between inmates and visitors in the prisons’ visiting areas.

Another meeting involving the same parties will be held on Monday afternoon to discuss the latest grievances.  The Prisons’ Service reports that due to the industrial action at a number of prisons including Bruges (West Flanders), Dendermonde, Ghent (both East Flanders), Leuven-Central (Flemish Brabant), Mechelen (Antwerp Province) and Sint-Gillis (Brussels) a minimal service cannot be guaranteed. The police have been drafted into Bruges, Gent, Sint-Gillis, Vorst and Berkendael prisons.  

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