Staff at Oberstown youth detention centre vote for industrial action

Staff at Oberstown youth detention centre vote for industrial action

Residential care workers and night supervisors at the Oberstown youth detention centre have voted overwhelmingly in favour of industrial action.

Unions say that staff and residents at the centre are exposed to a daily risk of violent assault, and that they are understaffed.

Action at the centre is likely to include work stoppages, during which emergency cover will be provided.

The Oberstown campus caters for 48 under 18s, including a mix of vulnerable young offenders and violent criminals.

Update 2.05pm: Oberstown detention centre in Dublin has said that efforts have been made to deal with health and safety concerns amongst staff.

In a statement this afternoon management says a Health and Safety Officer was employed in December to deal with the concerns and that they remain open to talks with workers.

“Significant improvements have been made in awareness of health and safety concerns, training and remedies to specific systems and procedures,” it was stated.

“The campus has invested in personal protection equipment as part of the new development and this includes personal alarms system for each member of staff.

“Reviews of incidents occur with the Health and Safety Officer to determine if measures can be put in place to achieve better outcomes for young people and staff.

The statement concluded: “The campus is at an advanced stage of opening an ‘intake unit’ which will assist young people understand what is required of them when they are sent to the campus by the courts.

“Management remain committed to working with staff representatives to address their specific issues and to achieve outcomes that meet safety concerns and are in line with the purpose and function of the facility.”

Update 5.24pm: Campus manager Pat Bergin said that he does not believe it is necessary for staff to wear protective equipment - and said that not all workers back the industrial action.

“I’d point out that 91 staff voted out of 180 staff, so there’s a 50% turnout,” he said.

“But not withstanding that, it still indicates a level of dissatisfaction among the residential care workers and the NSOs in relation to the health and safety attempts we’re been making here to address.”


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