Fed up security guards from various security contractors are taking to the streets of Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Adelaide in an effort to highlight endemic issues within the industry.
Security guards in Australia are predominantly employed through sub-contracting arrangements whereby wage theft and other forms of exploitation were commonplace, according to the representative union – United Workers Union (UWU).
The Award wage for security guards is $22.84-per-hour, therefore workers lucky enough to be paid the legal minimums were still struggling to keep up with the current cost of living.
UWU property services coordinator Damien Davie said it was unacceptable that the very workers who turned up to keep the community safe and secure through the pandemic were unable to make a living wage.
“We want the people who own and run the buildings that use dodgy security subcontractors to understand what their outsourcing actually means for workers who protect their properties and more importantly, protect the people inside,” Mr Davie said.
“The minimum wage for security guards is so low that heaps of workers are forced to take shifts at unsociable hours and work multiple jobs just to make ends meet. And these are the lucky ones.
“Heaps of security guards are working below the minimum because of either lack of scrutiny from regulators or because of legal loopholes that are exploited by unscrupulous employers like Securecorp.
“These workers are tasked with keeping some of Australia’s shiniest skyscrapers operational and keeping the high-paid executives within safe and secure but in return they are paid subpar wages.
“The sky rocketing cost of living is biting us all hard. It’s time profitable subcontractors and building owners contributed to the betterment of Australia by improving wages and job security today.”
Rallies were held as a national day of action as part of UWU’s Safeguard campaign. To read more about the campaign, click here.
Case study – Securecorp
- Securecorp is a group of Chinese-owned companies.
- The last financial figures available are for the 2018/19 financial year, which pre-date Covid-19, but indicate that Securecorp was making well over $100 million in revenue.
- Securecorp employs 2,270 people nationwide according to its submitted 2021 Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) data.
- It has offices in NSW, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia, and Tasmania.
- Securecorp Pty Ltd Australia is the holding company for around two dozen group
- companies in Australia. Securecorp Australia is wholly owned by Hong Kong-based
- China Security and Fire Technology (HK) Co. Ltd, via another Australia-based holding
- company, Guardforce Investments Holdings.
- Guards who work for Securecorp work are employed on an expired agreement from 2013, called the Securemetro agreement. These expired agreements are known in the industry as ‘zombie agreements’.
- The Securemetro agreement pays below award rates on weekends, night shifts, overtime and public holidays. Some guards are being paid less than the Award minimum by up to $18-per-hour.