Prisoners get holiday if jailers strike

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Inmates at the Bjørgvin Prison in Bergen may be let out if their jailers strike on Thursday.

A major strike may result if the public sector unions and government fail to agree on new terms before a mediation deadline at midnight Wednesday.

This is the first time that prison wardens have threatened to strike, reports TV2.  Since there are no alternative cells in the area, the 90 prisoners will be set free for the duration of the impending dispute.

“This is irresponsible behaviour on the part of the prison administration. They have until Thursday to take the necessary measures, so that society remains safe after 8am on Thursday,” says union chief, Knut Are Svenkerud.

The prison administation has asked for an exemption from the strike, but their request has been turned down by the union. Bjørgvin is a “low risk” prison, but the administration still feels that some of the inmates are potentially dangerous.

“The great majority of the prisoners in Bjørgvin Prison are definitely not dangerous people,” claims prison director Harald Åsaune. “We have all categories of prisoner here. Most are serving short sentences, but we also have a relatively large group with longer sentences. In all we have 20 prisoners with more than a year left to serve.” 

See related story: ‘Shocking’ lack of prison security

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