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Prison guard unions to protest understaffing

prison horizontal
The Nicosia central prison

Prison guard unions have called for a protest on Thursday outside the central prisons after the decision to terminate employment of thirteen of their colleagues.

In a joint statement, the unions called the decision “unjust and unjustified” and called on all prison staff to participate in the event to “send the loud and unequivocal message that no one is redundant in an understaffed department”.

In a statement of solidarity Pasydy and Isotita unions said they express their “full support and sympathy to their colleagues and their families.”

In an open letter to President Nikos Christodoulides earlier in the month, Isotita union requested the intervention of the president over the matter, saying the guards had been let go due to having been hired on temporary contracts.

The union in its statement said the guards in question were experienced at their jobs and that the service already faced problems with staffing numbers, recruitment, and retention.

“We absolutely understand fiscal pressures but the retention of these positions is crucial for the smooth functioning of the penitentiary system,” the union stated.

The state prisons have been beset with systemic problems, including drugs and prohibited items being smuggled in and crimes organised by convicts facilitated through use of mobile phones.

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