ATM machines run low as NZ guards strike for better pay

Money machines in Auckland will be running low 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 after guards working for the security company ACM had left for their daily run. More than 20 guards had returned their trucks to the company’s East Tamaki base at 10am and walked off the job. The guards’ collective employment agreement expired in April and no new agreement was reached when the union and ACM met in mediation. Ovens said guards wanted crew leaders to get a pay increase to recognise their higher level of responsibility.

“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.” ACM has offered all guards a 2 per cent pay increase and a further 1.4 per cent or the rate of inflation next year, whichever was greater.

“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,” Ovens said. The guards were also frustrated with changes to their daily run and roster changes that caused stress and resulted in high levels of sick leave, which in turn brought more roster changes. Overtime rates were also a problem, with guards working more than 40 hours a week but not qualifying for overtime payments.