The Prison Officers union voted today to stage a pre-election strike in a move that could send court system into chaos.

The officers want both major parties to commit to a 14 per cent wage increase over three years, in line with the amount promised earlier this week to nurses.

Nurses won the increase after threatening to strike in what could have had a potentially disastrous impact on hospitals.

Prison officers have been offered an increase of 9 per cent over three years and Premier Colin Barnett has ruled out negotiating an agreement with the union, claiming it was too far from the expiry of their enterprise bargaining agreement.

But Prison Officers Union Secretary John Welch said the excuse was a “bit thin” because the prison officers’ EBA expired 20 days before the one which covered nurses.

“This is not something we wanted to do,” Mr Welch said.

“We were happy to negotiate with the department but the Government changed the rules.”

The union is still sorting out the details of the strike, which could take the form of a mass stoppage across the State, or rolling stoppages at individual prisons.

It would hold up the court system by preventing the transfer of prisoners between court and prisons.

The West Australian

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