The Public Service Association has welcomed today’s announcement by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern that the government will directly employ security guards as part of its COVID-19 response and pay them the Living Wage.
The union says the move should be a stepping stone towards a government security service that operates across multiple agencies.
“Direct employment of security guards by government will enable quarantine services to better integrate security into their overall operations,” said PSA National Secretary, Glenn Barclay.
He said government contracting of services like security had led to a downward spiral in worker wages and conditions for many years and “undermined the ability of government to ensure accountability and improve standards”.
“Allowing third party providers to clip the ticket has never improved the experience citizens and clients have when dealing with government. Despite neoliberal myth peddling, it doesn’t save money and it will never improve health and safety or the employment experience for workers,” said Mr Barclay.
“This is an opportunity to do things differently and better, and offers the potential to inspire similar shifts to direct provision of public services elsewhere.”