Correctional officers walk off the job Central East Correctional Centre in Lindsay

Up to 75 guards at the Central East Correctional Centre in Lindsay initiated a work refusal on Tuesday, citing safety concerns. CHEX News file

Correctional officers at the Central East Correctional Centre in Lindsay left their posts on Tuesday as part of a refusal-to-work action, citing unsafe working conditions.

OPSEU Local 368 president Chris Butsch claims that in January inmates assaulted five on-duty guards.

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This month already, Butsch says the number of assaults has reached nine.

The Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services declined to comment on the assault claims, but acknowledged it received a complaint from correctional officers.

“An inspector has been assigned to investigate which is ongoing,” the Ministry stated in an email.

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Butsch says the Ministry needs to implement measures to better protect staff against violence.

“There are some immediate measures in place that the employer can take immediately to resolve some of those issues and they aren’t doing that at this point,” he said. “And it’s the obligation of every employer in the province to take every reasonable precaution to protect the worker.

“There are some security measures we want to see in place to help limit some of those assaults, so we need to have some of those conversations with the employers to help resolve some of those issues.”

Up to 75 guards are taking part in the refusal-to-work action, Butsch said.

READ MORE: Inmate dies while in custody at Drumheller Institution

He said the correctional facility is operating in lockdown with a “skeleton staff” on duty.

A similar work refusal involving 100 correctional officers was also held at the Toronto South Detention Centre on Tuesday.

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