Staff at Oberstown youth detention centre engage in industrial action over safety concerns – – Our News, Your Views

Staff at Oberstown youth detention centre engage in industrial action over safety concerns


Staff at Oberstown, the country’s only youth detention centre, have begun a series of work stoppages due to ongoing health and safety concerns at the facility.

According to IMPACT and SIPTU union representatives, workers are exposed to a substantial risk of physical violence on a daily basis. Over 100 violent incidents were recorded at Oberstown during 2015 alone.

It is understood that residents will be confined to their rooms while the industrial action takes place.

Oberstown campus manager Pat Bergin has said that “Safety concerns are a high priority for the campus management.”

In response to the crisis, new Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Katherine Zappone said that “Major advances have been achieved in the Oberstown campus in recent years, with significant capital investment in new children detention facilities, the first programme of recruitment for care staff in over 10 years and the establishment of dedicated cross-campus management,”

“The issues which are the subject of this dispute are best dealt with through a process of dialogue and agreement under the state’s independent industrial relations machinery.

“I welcome the fact that staff representatives have agreed to engage with Oberstown management at the Workplace Relations Commission on Wednesday of this week.

“However, the fact that this engagement is happening means that, having regard to normal industrial relations practice and the Lansdowne Road Agreement, there is no basis for this industrial action to take place.

“I am concerned at the interruption that will result in the normal routines of children this morning, including their attendance at school on the campus with state examinations taking place within the next week”.

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