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Security guards at Perth quarantine hotels asked to remove masks because it was ‘upsetting and intimidating guests’

United Workers Union, the security union, is hugely concerned that members working at quarantine hotels in Perth have been instructed to remove masks after site supervisors claimed it was ‘upsetting and intimidating guests’.

Workers in dangerous situations must be provided with personal protective equipment (PPE) and clear health and safety information during the coronavirus crisis. Security guards and cleaners in quarantine hotels have been providing a crucial service as they put themselves at risk to keep the community safe and protected from the Covid-19 virus.

Carolyn Smith, United Workers Union W.A. spokesperson says, “The union has been contacted by distressed members. Being handed a mask and then having that mask taken away when working in a high risk environment is unacceptable and reckless in the current health crisis.

“Serco has set up the security in the state’s quarantine hotels on the run, and contracted workers must not be left behind.

“These hotels are housing people at risk of coronavirus. Across Australia people in quarantine have been diagnosed with Covid-19.

“These security guards do have contact with guests, they are working at lifts, in hallways and lobbies.

“Many of the security guards working in the quarantine hotels are temporary migrant workers. If they don’t work, they don’t have money to live on and can’t feed themselves and their families. They should not be taken advantage of.

“We don’t believe for a minute that guests in a hotel under quarantine would be intimidated by PPE, and would want to be seeing all workers taking precautions.

“We are asking for clear advice from the State Government, Serco and Corporate Security about worker rights in quarantine hotels – we are very concerned for our security guard and cleaner members. They should be receiving proper and considered medical advice.

“United Workers Union is calling for these workers to have information provided before they start work in quarantine situations about what the necessary PPE is, how to use it and what their rights are with occupational health and safety.”

Serco have the contract to provide security for the hotels and the casino where the quarantined cruise ship arrivals are being housed. Serco have contracted this work out to smaller providers including the company Corporate Security. Personal protective equipment (PPE) was issued to all guards (masks, gloves and sanitiser). Corporate Security distributed PPE at the beginning shifts but soon site supervisors told our members to remove it. Our members were told that the PPE would “upset and intimidate the guests staying there”.

One of our members was so concerned at the directive and the health and safety implications that she resigned her position.



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