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‘Appalling’ Working Conditions On G4S Prisons Contract

Thursday, October 19, 2017

GMB Calls For Scottish Government Intervention Over ‘Appalling’ Working Conditions On G4S Prisons Contract

GMB Scotland has today (Thursday 19 October) called for an urgent Scottish Government intervention over ‘appalling’ working conditions affecting staff employed by prison services contractor G4S.

GMB has been inundated with pleas from beleaguered staff through a live workplace survey process, raising concerns about a culture of bullying and harassment within the multi-national security giant’s Care & Justice Service management, leading to extreme working hours and fears over workplace safety.

Union reps have now written to the Scottish Government’s Cabinet Secretary for Justice Michael Matheson MSP seeking an intervention after the concerns raised by GMB were dismissed by G4S management, with the full survey results due to be published early next week following the close of the consultation.

G4S are five years into a seven year £154 million contract, award by the public body and executive agency of the Scottish Government, the Scottish Prisons Service, for the manning and transportation of prisoners from courts and hospitals, servicing an estimated 180,000 transfers a year across the country.

GMB Scotland Senior Organiser Tony Dowling said: “The issue of staff over-work and under-resource in the G4S prisons contract have been well publicised previously but we are reaching breaking point now and management don’t want to know.

We have received appalling evidence through our consultation process from staff being threatened with disciplinary action and the loss of their livelihoods if they do not undertake work that results in shifts lasting up to fourteen or fifteen hours a day, which is totally unsustainable.

The work our members undertake obviously carries an above-average element of risk to health and safety and it is an essential part of the day-to-day operation of the Scottish justice system – we cannot do without these dedicated public servants and they deserve better.

Our priority is to defend the interests of our members and the increasing numbers of staff seeking the help of our trade union. That’s why in the face of management intransigence we are asking Mr Matheson to urgently intervene before a significant problem becomes a crisis.”


Contact: GMB Scotland Senior Organiser Tony Dowling on 07958 477859 or Peter Welsh, GMB Scotland Communications, on 07976 447077.

Additional Resources

GMB Scotland letter to Scottish Government’s Cabinet Secretary for Justice Michael Matheson, MSP

download pdf166Kb (pdf) - 19 October 2017

GMB Members G4S Care And Justice, Scottish Government Contract