House debates

Thursday, 31 May 2018

Statements by Members

Workplace Relations

1:33 pm

Photo of Lisa ChestersLisa Chesters (Bendigo, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Assistant Minister for Workplace Relations) Share this | | Hansard source

Parliament may be alarmed to learn that the security officers in charge of security at Defence sites in Victoria are on strike today. They're on strike because this government is again trying to, through the contractor, cut penalty rates of some of our hardest-working yet lowest-paid Defence employees. Guards working at 14 Australian Army, Navy and Air Force sites commenced industrial action today against their multinational employer, Wilson Security, and its bid to reduce their job security and cut their pay by cutting penalty rates by thousands of dollars a year. They've cited the government's push to see these guards on award wages as one of the reasons.

This includes the Australian Geospatial-Intelligence Organisation, which is actually in my electorate. I know these security officers; they've level 6 clearance. They have one of the highest clearances that you can get in this country, yet this government and their employer want to see them paid the minimum wage, award wages. It's not good enough. For over a year, their company, Wilson Security, has tried to push the guards back to the minimum award, cutting shift penalty rates and public holiday rates. The guards did not take this decision lightly. I call on the government to sit down with the contractor, sit down with the guards and end this dispute.