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Commission to visit 'understaffed' jails

The Industrial Relations Commissioner will visit two NSW prisons after thousands of prison guards walked off the job to protest potential job cuts and what they claim are unsafe working conditions.

About 4000 prison officers from up to 27 of the state's jails on Friday took unplanned strike action over feared job cuts.

They were ordered back to work that afternoon by the IRC and banned from further strike action until May 12.

Commissioner John Murphy did not place further sanctions on the prison officers' union when the dispute returned to the IRC on Monday.

But he announced he will visit two correctional centres in mid-May.

AAP understands the two facilities will be Long Bay and South Coast correctional centres.

Public Service Association industrial manager Evan Cole says prison crews are facing job cuts particularly in more experienced roles.

"They're losing the senior positions and having them replaced with recruits fresh from the academy," he told AAP after Monday's IRC conference.

Experienced prison officers, Mr Cole said, were particularly important when facing the toughest inmates and situations.

"It's not just the understaffing, it's the mind games, the pedophiles who twist things, the manipulation they face in there.

"It can be more than just worrying about getting thumped at work."

Impacted prisons were staffed with skeleton crews during last week's walkouts.

Corrective Services NSW, in a statement earlier on Monday, welcomed the decision to force officers back to work and described the strike as "unnecessary".

The department says consultation with staff and the union continues and no decisions on job changes have been made.

PSA general secretary Stewart Little on Friday said assault rates have tripled in the past three years and any job cuts will put officers' lives at risk.

"We have a prison population that is fast approaching 14,000 ... it's a system that is designed and built for 11,000 inmates," he said.

© AAP 2018