While many Australians will be enjoying a break, tucking into some chocolate eggs, or cheering their favourite footy team on this weekend, Securecorp security guards around Australia will be working for minimum wage without penalties.
A legal loophole in employment law allows Securecorp to employ security guards on an old, expired agreement which does not meet the minimums set out in the Security Services Industry Award 2020, this loophole is known as a zombie agreement.
Under this zombie agreement, called the Securemetro Agreement, guards are paid under the legislated minimum award rates for weekends, night shifts, overtime and public holidays. In some cases, workers are being ripped-off up to $18-per-hour.
Even if the public holidays are disregarded a security guard that works weekends and nights will be around $300-a-week worse off than under the award, according to United Workers Union (UWU) calculations provided to the Fair Work Commission (FWC).
UWU Property Services Coordinator Damien Davie said it was disgraceful that a company which held lucrative security contracts was able to get away with paying less than minimum wage.
“We value our public holidays. They’re supposed to be a time to relax and spend time with friends and family, and if you’re unable to enjoy that time you’re supposed to be compensated accordingly but Securecorp doesn’t respect those values and it doesn’t respect its workers either,” Mr Davie said.
“While I am angry that Securecorp won’t do the right thing, I am more frustrated that they are legally allowed to get away with not even paying the bare minimum that is guaranteed for most workers in Australia.
“And I am even angrier that the dodgy company doesn’t lack business either, their low-cost, terrible-treatment business model has secured them contracts with some of Australia’s most prestigious institutes such as the Melbourne Cricket Ground, which will host three major footy games over the weekend.”
Last month, the union assisted a member and Securecorp guard with making an application to the FWC to have the dodgy agreement terminated.
The matter is now before Commissioner Hunt.
- 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.
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