PARIS – French prison workers’ unions blocked on Monday dozens of penitentiary centers across the country to protest security issues and demand better working conditions.
According to UFAP-UNsa, the primary union for ministry of justice workers, up to 120 prisons had their entrances blocked by workers, though the ministry said protests were recorded at around 15 out of 188 prisons in the country.
Minister Nicole Belloubet, who was scheduled to meet with union leaders throughout the afternoon, said she wanted to immediately restart negotiations, after workers rejected the proposals made by the penitentiary administration in a round of talks that started on Jan. 13.
They were offered the creation of 1,100 new jobs over the next four years, reinforced security equipment and the setting up of prisons with special sections for violent conflicts that would be totally separate from the rest.
The secretary-general of the security section of the main penitentiary workers’ union, Emmanuel Baudin, said they had rejected the offer because they needed specialized centers for radicalized prisoners and higher wages to attract more people to the profession.