Strike at South West Detention Centre likely, union says

A strike is likely says the union president who represents correctional workers at the South West Detention Centre in Windsor and that has him concerned about safety.

'No board' report was issued Tuesday

OPSEU Local 135 president Randy Simpraga says a strike is likely. (Dale Molnar/CBC/Twitter)

A strike at the South West Detention Centre in Windsor is likely says the union president who represents correctional workers there and that has him concerned about safety.

Randy Simpraga, president of OPSEU Local 135, which represents guards at the local jail, says if there is a strike, staffing would be no more than 20 per cent of where it should be.

He says that could make it a dangerous situation for workers and inmates.

"I understand most listeners would say, 'too bad, they're in jail,'" Simpraga said. "Our job is care, custody and control. That's what we provide so its going to get worse."

Tuesday, a "no board" report was been issued in the negotiations between the province and the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) correctional bargaining unit, moving the two sides one step closer to a strike or lockout.

That means that a concilliator has decided the two sides are not ready to come to an agreement.

Once the report has been issued, there is a 17-day deadline before the parties enter into a legal strike or lockout position.

However, the parties will still be able to negotiate during that time.

Simpraga says he still believes a strike is likely.

Preparations for a strike seem to be underway.

Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services Yasir Naqvi says the province has a contingency plan in place to keep staff and inmates safe.

"The safety and security of our correctional staff, inmates, and the community is our top priority. Our government is committed to bargaining and to reaching a negotiated settlement, but we also have a contingency plan in place to keep staff, inmates and the community safe in case of any labour disruption," he said in a statement. "The Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services will continue to be responsible for the health, safety and transportation of more than 8,000 inmates and staff that would run the institutions, and the monitoring of offenders on probation and parole. These plans will make sure this is done in a way that keeps our communities safe while delivering the essential services Ontarians rely on every day."

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