France: Unprecedented Nationwide Prison Strike Called Off After Govt Assurance

| January 27 , 2018 , 18:10 IST

France has been reeling under a nationwide strike called by prison guards for the past 12 days. The strike was called over concerns of security for the prison guards and low salaries.

As per reports, the strike has finally come to an end with a fresh round of negotiation between the French Government and the protesting prison guard union. The largest of three French prison guard unions spearheading nationwide strike said it would accept the government proposal on better pay and staff safety.

The UFAP-UNSa union in a statement said that new propositions from Justice Minister Nicole Belloubet were the "basis for a profound evolution in our prison system" and thus they agreed to end the protests.

The protests began after a convicted Al-Qaeda extremist attacked guards at a high-security facility in the north of the country on January 11 with a razor blade and scissors, injuring three of them. A series of other assaults which also occurred shortly, often by radicalised inmates led to the unprecedented nationwide strike.

Justice Minister Nicole Belloubet addressed union chiefs and said that 1,500 maximum security cells would be built and the dangerous inmates would be handcuffed and will once again be subject to spot cell searches. She also pledged to create 1,100 new jobs to ease the pressure on the 28,000 guards at overcrowded prisons and announced at least 30 million euros ($37 million) to increase the salaries of prison guards.

Although the strike has been called off by UFAP-UNSa, two smaller unions, the hard-left CGT and FO have rejected the measures announced by Belloubet.