Solidarity picket @ 5pm to protest against security company lockout

19 March 2011

Media Release:

Strike action today against security company lockout – Solidarity picket at 5pm, corner of Carbine Rd and Arthur Brown Place, Mt Wellington

Union members at First Security (a division of ISS International) will be on strike today from 5pm in support of 15 members from the company’s patrols division who were locked out by the company last night after a two-hour strike for decent pay.

After taking two hours off work the company is taking 36 hours work from these lowest paid workers.

“It’s a bullying tactic designed to force the workers to accept a poor pay offer,” said Unite Security Organiser Barry Sutherland. “Already the pay rates for patrol staff at First Security are the lowest in Auckland. Many of the staff are migrant workers who are fearful of their employment and more easily cowed to accept low pay and long hours of work.”

Mr Sutherland said that despite these barriers the union has over 200 members across the country employed by First Security.

“Security is a notoriously low-paid industry where staff have to work sixty hours plus per week to bring in enough income for their families. Shifts are typically 12 hours long (6pm to 6am) at unsociable hours but and rates of pay barely scrape above the minimum wage.

“Guards beginning are on $13.52 and the three percent offer from the company would bring them to just $13.93. (The minimum wage is $13.00 from 1 April) Patrol staff want a minimum rate of $14.50 per hour which has been refused by the company.

“On Friday night the company was forced to use untrained patrol staff to cover the company’s sites. Barely half the buildings and property the company is contracted to provide security for were visited by patrols last night and those that were had untrained staff doing the work.”

Mr Sutherland said that in cases like this company advises staff to attend only “hot clients” – those that will complain first if their sites are not visited. “However the company will still charge all clients for services even where these are not provided. Unite is advising all clients of First to do their own building checks this weekend.

Striking workers and supporters will be on a picket line from 5pm at the company office on the corner of Carbine Road and Arthur Brown Place, Mt Wellington.

“This is a large Dutch multinational company stomping with hobnail boots on its low-paid workers” says Unite Union organizer Barry Sutherland.

“The workers are not taking this lying down,” he concluded.

Barry Sutherland

Unite Security Organiser 021447067

Also available for comment:

Mike Treen

Unite National Director 0295254744

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