Page 1973 - Week 07 - Tuesday, 14 May 2013

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The apprentice chef of the year was Michael Wood from Conder. Congratulations to Michael for his work during the year as well. The outstanding service award went to David Paull from the Vikings Group and the young achiever award to David Spiteri from the Southern Cross Club, Tuggeranong. We also had the small club of the year award, which went to National Press Club of Australia and the large club of the year award, which went to the Southern Cross Club, Woden.

The awards were held at the Hellenic Club. I congratulate the Hellenic Club on their support of clubs and, of course, their contribution to employment in the ACT. Other supporters were Aristocrat, Lion, Bradley Allen Love and Carlton & United Breweries. It was a fantastic night and congratulations to all involved.

Serco Sodexo Defence Services—workers

MS BERRY (Ginninderra) (4.44): I rise in the adjournment debate to give my voice and support to the cleaners, security guards and hospitality staff at RMC Duntroon who will be taking action tomorrow to protect their rights and conditions at work.

Serco Sodexo Defence Services, or SSDS, are a huge multinational company that tenders for the provision of support services at defence sites and buildings. I can tell you, Mr Assistant Speaker, that they do have a reputation for treading on the rights of their employees. Here are some examples of the allegations that have been made by some of their employees that I have been told about. Security officers at SSDS are paid well below the award rate operating for other security firms in the ACT.

Mr Coe interjecting—

MS BERRY: They have until recently worked regular overtime. The security officers were gutted when, without notice, SSDS cut all overtime on the site. These officers could lose their homes. That is what people on this side of the Assembly care about, Mr Coe. They actually care about low-paid workers in this community. They have worked for years to purchase and maintain these homes.

Last month SSDS reduced the number of guards on the gates of defence sites. This means that guards can no longer have a meal or a toilet break whilst on duty. The guards have asked the company on many occasions to resolve this clearly unacceptable situation to many of us, but their requests have been met with what they feel is callous indifference.

For over 20 years, the catering staff at Duntroon and ADFA have worked their shifts according to what is known as a military roster. The roster worked really well, providing some ability to spend time with family and friends. Unfortunately, last year SSDS abruptly put an end to the roster. This meant that families’ routines were thrown out of whack and the caterers’ partners could not rely on them to help with family activities. One of the caterer’s wives recently commented to me, “I just have to make the plans as best I can and if my husband can come—great. I want to be able to do things with him and the kids, but if I don’t just make plans without him we wouldn’t have any life outside work at all.”

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