A STRIKE by NSW prison staff has ended as suddenly as it began.
The industrial action ended on Saturday, mere hours after prison staff voted to continue striking due to an increase in violence by inmates.
The snap strike, which started on Friday, has already created a backlog within the court system and police holding cells had started to fill up over the weekend.
AAP understands two men who were arrested over a fatal shooting at a Melbourne boxing match were due to face Parramatta Bail Court on Saturday but they, along with others, could not have their matter heard due to the strikes.
Police had also been asked to work overtime as prison staff were not taking fresh custodies, AAP understands.
Despite a ruling for workers to return to the job by the Industrial Relations Commission on Friday afternoon, staff at most NSW prisons voted to remain on strike on Saturday afternoon.
Staff at Goulburn prison, where the state’s most dangerous criminals are held, walked off the job on Friday and were soon followed by workers across the statewide correctional system including those in prisoner transport and the courts.
The union said an increase in violence against staff at Goulburn was a key reason behind the strike.
A judge’s recent decision to reverse an inmate’s 20-month sentence extension over a prison officer assault also played a role, the union said.
Notorious Supermax prisoner and gang leader Bassam Hamzy allegedly bashed a guard.
“It has clearly sent a message to offenders that they can bash and assault prison officers and there’ll be no consequence,” a Public Service Association spokeswoman said.
The PSA claims another staffer was attacked with urine and faeces on Thursday and two more were injured on Sunday.
A spokesman from Corrective Services NSW told AAP on Saturday evening the strike had ended.
“The NSW government stands with hardworking correctional officers who have one of the most dangerous jobs in the state,” Corrections Minister David Elliott said in a statement.
He said urgent advice has been sought from the Director of Public Prosecutions over a potential appeal of the Hamzy decision and a re-elected government would amend legislation “to ensure any loophole is addressed and the legislation is strengthened” to protect officers.
© AAP 2019