Statement attributable to Damien Davie, United Workers Union Property Services Coordinator:
“Ultimately, the review is a step in the right direction, however, the industry must adopt the Safeguard standards if we are to ever see a security industry in Victoria which is free of wage theft and exploitation.
“For too long security guards have been disrespected by companies, contractors and clients. Back in August guards said enough is enough and launched Safeguard, a national campaign that’s core is about respect – respecting workers who keep both the public and property safe, putting themselves on the line day in and day out, even now during the pandemic.
“Safeguard provides clients and companies with a set of national standards to meet in their security contracts and agreements. It has five key demands – job security, liveable wages, respect, career and skill development and safe workplaces.
“The Union was a member of the Victorian Security Industry Advisory Council during the review process and looks forward to developing the code of practice with the Andrews Labor Government and industry stakeholders. On behalf of our members, we will be working to ensure the code of practice aligns with the Safeguard standards.
“The review has acknowledged subcontracting to be a major issue which sees many guards underpaid and exploited.
“Recently the Union uncovered one of Victoria’s largest private security companies, MSS, had engaged dodgy subcontractors to perform work at the Spring Racing Carnival. MSS’s subcontractors were committing wage theft and providing little to no training on COVID safe practices.
“Recommendation 18 of the review would see consideration of tighter controls such as head contractors required to be transparent about subcontracting arrangements, clients must agree to subcontracting in writing, and all parties to keep clear, up-to-date employment records and site logs, and introduce penalties for noncompliance.
“If recommendation 18 of the review was in place, the Victoria Racing Club would have to agree to MSS engaging dodgy subcontractors. It’s unclear if the recommendations will stop such practices, but it will require contractors to seek the agreement of clients which should lead to a greater level of scrutiny.”
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