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Threat to lock out Parliament security staff

PSA Media Release
October 29, 2009
For immediate use

Threat to lock out Parliament security staff unacceptable bullying

The Public Service Association says a threat to lock out Parliamentary security officers, that belong to the union, for taking lawful protest action is a disgraceful attempt at intimidation that will not work.

The security officers’ employer, Parliamentary Service, has written to the PSA stating that it will “look to lock these employees out of their employment if they continue to withdraw their labour.”

The letter was sent to the PSA after the security officers, and other members of the union who work at Parliament, walked out off the job this afternoon and went on strike for two hours.

“These security officers and other Parliamentary workers are taking lawful protest action,” says PSA national secretary Richard Wagstaff.

“Their action is a legitimate protest against Parliamentary Service freezing their pay and attempting to cut the level of redundancy protection and redundancy payments.”

“We’re disappointed that Parliamentary Service is trying to bully these workers into accepting something they’ve rejected,” says Richard Wagstaff.

The industrial dispute at Parliament involves 130 staff who belong to the PSA and work as security officers, library staff, reception workers, building maintenance staff, messengers and other administrative staff at Parliament.

They have been trying to negotiate a new collective employment agreement since February and began a campaign of industrial at the start of October.

Parliamentary Services says if the security officers take further industrial action it will look at locking them out of their jobs until a new collective agreement is agreed with the PSA.

“We’re alarmed at this heavy handed attempt by Parliamentary Service to intimidate its staff,” says Richard Wagstaff.

“Parliamentary Services seeks to justify its threat to lock out security officers by claiming their lawful strike exacerbated the security threat at Parliament from activity such as terrorist action.”

“Surely preventing security officers from doing their job for an indefinite period would pose a far greater risk to Parliament’s security than them taking lawful protest action,” says Richard Wagstaff.

“Parliamentary Service should stop trying to bully its staff as this will not resolve this dispute.”

“It should instead focus its energy and attention on returning to the negotiating table and working with its staff and their union to find a fair and reasonable settlement,’’ says Richard Wagstaff.


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