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'Coordinated action' exposes staff shortages at Archidona prison

File photo of inside Archidona prison.
File photo of inside Archidona prison. / Ñito Salas
  • An investigation is under way into more than half of staff being off sick on Wednesday, a trend reflected nationally

The prison in Archidona, known as Málaga II, became the latest headache for the prisons authorities on Wednesday when 17 of the 32 guards expected to be on duty were off work, citing health problems.

This was the highest proportion of missing staff across ten prisons nationally where the same situation has occurred this week, leading management at the Archidona jail to call staff back from holiday leave and make other officers work double shifts.

While the authorities are unwilling as yet to call it "coordinated action", they have said that they are "monitoring" the situation to see if any of these absences constitute some form of non-authorised protest. "We are checking whether these illnesses are genuine or not," said the prisons authority's general secretary, Ángel Luis Ortiz González.

This comes a year after the start of a campaign by the prison workers' unions calling for improvements to working conditions and salaries. The campaign is ongoing and no concessions have yet been made. Ortiz has made it clear that there is no possibility of any changes to wages at the present moment but that they were open to discussions over improving safety, providing "they leave extortion and insults to one side".