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Changes to IR laws may boost security

PUBLIC liability may be a major concern facing the industry, but many security companies are also being forced to deal with a change to the way they employ their staff.

Indeed, the security industry has been highlighted as one of the main industries that will suffer when the WA Government abolishes workplace agreements.

Ironically, the problems facing the industry come at a time when demand for security services is at an all-time high in the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks in the US.

However, the industry’s peak body in WA, the Security Agents Institute of WA, has continually decried the use of workplace agreements, claiming they have caused problems within the industry.

Institute executive officer Ron Adams said the removal of workplace agreements would put everybody on a level playing field.

“With workplace agreements somebody could set up a $2 company and pay low rates. That just drives everybody down to the lowest common denominator,” he said.

“With the changes coming everybody will be operating with the same ground rules when they go to tender. This means the tender will have to be won on things other than price, such as quality of service.

“As an industry we want to ensure that everybody is well trained and can provide quality service. We want security officer to become a career path.”

MSA Security managing director John Dennison said the IR changes would put pressure on everybody. However, he said the changes would make things a little fairer.

“We used to compete around an iniquitous four-tiered situation of Federal award, State award, workplace agreements and even not-for-profit rates,” Mr Dennison said.

“Majors who were respondents to the Federal award couldn’t gain access to workplace agreements.

“The IR legislation won’t bring us back to a level playing field but it will put us back in the same ballpark.”

Group 4 Securitas general manager Rod Anderson said workplace agreements had resulted in a number of security officers being underpaid.

“Security guards in WA have been the lowest paid in Australia since the Workplace Relations Act came in nine years ago,” he said.

“We pay more than the award to our guards because we want better guards.”

Secureforce director John Ryan said he did not believe the loss of workplace agreements would affect too many in the industry.

“I think the Employee-Employer Agreements the Government is offering will be a viable alternative,” he said.

“The only trouble is none of the rules governing the EEAs is locked in yet.”

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