Press Release – Unite Union
Outside First Security, Cnr Carbine Rd and Arthur Brown St 10am Wednesday 5th December 2012
Unite Union is launching a campaign to publicise the awful treatment of workers employed in New Zealand’s unregulated security industry.
Security here is renowned for –
No training; minimum wages; poor job security; variable pay; insecure hours; abuse of employment rights; abuse of immigration policy; abuse of breaks; long unsociable hours; unmitigated dangers on the job and no backup when things go wrong.
Underlying all this is a deep disrespect for the workers across the industry.
“We’ve had a gutsful of dealing incessantly with problems that should never occur in any workplace” says Unite National Director Mike Treen. “Across the industry workers are bullied and treated like disposable commodities”.
The focus of the campaign will be the two largest security companies – First Security and ADT/Armourguard – with another nasty employer, Rush Security, also in the firing line.
The larger companies should set a decent example but they are often the worst offenders. They are large multinational companies which employ New Zealanders at minimum rates and send the profits offshore. They resist decent pay and conditions of employment.
Underlying the problem is the lack of regulation.
“There is no other comparable country where a person can pull on a security uniform with no training whatever and be on a job immediately.”
A security company can be run from the boot of a car with guards put on sites without even basic communications equipment and no regard whatever for their health or safety.
The conditions around the employment and death of security guard Charanpreet Dhaliwal Singh, 22 in West Auckland late last year are typical of the cheap and nasty nature of security in New Zealand. Singh was untrained and working his first night at a Fulton Hogan site in West Auckland without basic equipment when he was attacked and killed.
No training, no backup, no communications, no pay, no respect, no dignity – and no government interest – that’s security in New Zealand.
At the heart of the problem is the vicious competition between companies for contracts whereby they compete to pay the least and provide the nastiest conditions of employment.
Ultimately the New Zealand government must regulate this grubby, dog-eat-dog industry because instead of fighting the government these companies prefer to bully the workers with low pay and pitiable conditions of employment.
This cowboy behaviour would not be tolerated in elsewhere.
The changes we want to see are:
• Safety for guards as the first priority.
• Mandatory paid training for all guards BEFORE putting on a uniform and on-going paid training afterwards.
• Specialist Health and Safety trained staff in every company.
• Specialist Personnel Management staff in every company.
• Minimum wage rates across the industry.
• Security of hours across the industry.
Without these changes we will see more guards abused, killed and injured while company bullies turn a blind eye.
The Unite campaign will consist of:
• Community pickets of the companies listed above starting Wednesday 5th December (at First Security, Cnr Carbine Road and Arthur Brown Street, Mt Wellington) and continuing indefinitely.
• Leafleting to tell the public about the industry and seek their support for change.
• Approaches to the Minister of Justice to regulate this rogue industry as is done overseas in places like the UK and Australia.
• Regular bulletins over the next two months to highlight specific abuses of security workers and their rights.
• A media conference part-way through the campaign to give specific examples of the state of the industry.