Last Friday, Dean Purdy, Vice President, Corrections and Sheriff Services Component 1 and Component Executive members Brian Campbell and Brandon Cox once again met with senior Workers' Compensation Board (WCB) officials in their second meeting since January.
Your union raised a variety of issues and concerns including the need to lower officer-to-inmate ratios, a review of the latest prison violence statistics, the removal of microwaves in living units, and WCB orders.
New statistics released by BC Corrections show that prison violence is still on the rise province-wide. In fact, assaults on correctional officers have seen an increase of nearly 57 per cent over a two-year period.
"We're really frustrated, and our members are frustrated. It's just a matter of time before one of our members gets killed on the job," said Purdy. "We are the only province in Canada with jails that have one officer with up to 72 inmates. It's not good enough. We must go return to the 1:20 ratio."
At Friday's meeting, your component called for a tripartite committee with the employer, WCB and BCGEU. "Right now, the employer is not being held accountable," said Purdy.
The union also requested a follow up email from WCB to provide an overview of next steps and what action WCB will take.
Moving forward, your component will be requesting meetings with the newly formed provincial BCNDP/Green government in order to bring these issues to the forefront of the new Ministry of Public Safety & Solicitor General Minister.
Last November, Purdy and members of your component executive met with provincial government opposition critics and MLAs Mike Farnworth (Public Safety and Solicitor General), Leonard Krog (Attorney General) and Shane Simpson (Labour) about escalating prison violence and the Prison Safety Now campaign.
Farnworth demanded action from Mike Morris, BC's former Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General, but Morris dismissed safety concerns in our province's correctional centres, stating, "Safety is not an issue in any of the correctional centres we have in BC."
"We are hopeful that the new government will be receptive to our concerns and will be more willing to engage with your component," said Purdy.
Component 1 has expectations for the new government to clean up the damage created by the previous government and 16 years of changes to WCB regulations that have negatively impacted the safety of our members.
Component 1 executive members met with provincial government MLAs Mike Farnworth (Public Safety and Solicitor General), Leonard Krog (Attorney General) and Shane Simpson (Labour) about escalating prison violence and the Prison Safety Now campaign.
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