ATM machines set to dry up as security guards strike


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Many ATM machines in Auckland won’t be replenished today as security guards strike over stalled pay negotiations.

Service and Food Workers Union Industry Leader Jill Ovens said the union gave written notice of the strike this morning after guards working for the security company ACM had left for their daily run.

At 10am, 28 guards will return their trucks to the company’s East Tamaki base and walk off the job.

The guards’ collective agreement expired in April and after months of negotiations, the union and the company failed to reach agreement at mediation last Friday.

“Guards have wanted crew leaders to get more of an increase in their pay to recognise the high level of responsibility they carry,” Ms Ovens said.

“They are exposed to huge dangers as they pick up millions of dollars from banks and large retail stores.  In Australia, the same company’s guards carry guns, but here in New Zealand they have to rely on the crew leader to keep them safe.”

The company has offered all guards a 2% pay increase and a further 1.4% or CPI next year, whichever is greater.

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“When we learnt this morning that the major banks have reported core earnings of $3.5 billion in their first half results, it is offensive that they can’t pass on better wages through their contractors to the people who keep their businesses operating,” Ms Ovens said.

The guards are also frustrated with changes to their daily run and roster changes that cause stress and result in high levels of sick leave, which in turn brings more roster changes.

Another sticking issue is overtime rates.  “All the guards work more than 40 hours a week, but do not qualify for overtime payments as penal rates don’t cut in till more than 50 hours a week have been worked,” Ms Ovens said.

About half the guards are contracted to work only 30-35 hours a week, but regularly work fulltime.