Suspended prison officer and United Voice delegate Kylie Muscat will be paid in full for the duration of the legal case taken by the union against her employer GEO. The management company at Arthur Gorrie Correctional Centre suspended Kylie over two weeks ago after she raised safety concerns in the media. Kylie spoke out about under staffing and other safety issues after one of her colleagues was assaulted at the jail. She was suspended later that day.
United Voice sought an urgent injunction to lift this suspension and have Kylie reinstated after negotiations between the union and GEO in the Fair Work Commission failed to reach a resolution. The court found it was not necessary to grant the injunction because GEO agreed to pay Kylie at her usual rate of pay and not to terminate her employment pending the final outcome of the case.
United Voice Queensland Secretary Gary Bullock said “We are disappointed that the court did not order GEO to reinstate Kylie for the duration of the legal proceedings but this outcome is the next best option for her.”
Mr Bullock added “Although Kylie wants to get back to work and resume her duties as a prison officer, she is relieved that she will receive full pay while the court case proceeds.”
“We continue to stand by Kylie 100% as we know a union delegate should not be punished for speaking out when management choose to ignore the safety concerns of their staff.”
“As far as we are concerned GEO is making an example out of Kylie so none of her colleagues or other union delegates will speak up when officers are in danger. We believe Kylie’s suspension by GEO was unlawful and we are confident of a favourable outcome in the courts.”
A motion was passed at the ALP State Conference last weekend that a future Labor Government would improve staffing levels and facilities in Queensland prisons. While members also showed their support for Kylie by wearing a sticker with the words “Sack GEO Not Kylie.” Further actions are planned in the coming days to highlight Kylie’s plight and to show GEO and the State Government that union delegates cannot be silenced.