Prison pay snarl hits Labor campaign
OFFICIALS from a powerful union have been accused of telling corrective services officers not to support Labor Leader Bill Shorten in retaliation for their dispute with the Palaszczuk Government over pay and overcrowded prisons.
Labor sources have told The Courier-Mail corrections officers had been turning up at pre-poll stations in uniform and telling volunteers their union had cautioned them against supporting Mr Shorten.
The issue was further inflamed last week when the Palaszczuk Government tabled an offer during pay negotiations that would allow prison bosses to give officers just one day's notice of shift changes.
The release of the offer circumvented planned strike action but has further angered officers who are battling to stay safe at work in overcrowded prisons across Queensland.
Together Union boss Alex Scott said he never advised members how to vote but indicated some union organisers may have taken this step because they were livid at inaction over prison conditions.
"I don't know everything that is said by everybody," he said. "But we have some serious concerns about the corrections area which is a state-based issue."
Mr Scott said prisons were required to give officers at least three days' notice of a shift change and this would be cut under the new proposal.
Officers were particularly angry about the proposal to return to "operational staffing".
Mr Scott said it allowed prison bosses to adjust staffing based on officers available, saying the same system was in place when Postcard Bandit Brendan Abbott escaped.
"Even if they made a decent wage offer, if they came after us with all this s**t, they would still have a problem," he said.
Other unions deploying members to campaign for Labor are fuming at Together's actions. However, Mr Scott said the union strongly supported the "Change the Rules" campaign.
Corrective Services Minister Mark Ryan urged Together and his department to come up with an agreement.