Uni guard in Bendigo fights move to silence guards over dodgy Work Choices contract

A La Trobe Uni guard in Bendigo facing the sack will go to court to save his job and push ahead with a campaign to terminate a dodgy Work Choices-era contract paying $9 p/hr below the Award.

David Hollingworth, who works for security contractor BRI Security at La Trobe University Bendigo’s Rural Health School, says he has been falsely accused of misconduct and threatened with the sack after he applied to the Fair Work Commission to terminate a dodgy Work Choices-era agreement.

The agreement, nearly ten years old, cuts weekend penalty rates and allowances so that guards can be paid $9 per hour below the Award and is a chilling reminder of Malcolm Turnbull’s post-election IR agenda.

The threats made against Mr Hollingworth by BRI Security began the day after he made his application to the Fair Work Commission.

Yesterday, Mr Hollingworth, with support from his union, United Voice, requested BRI Security immediately withdraw allegations and threats to his employment. However BRI has refused.

Union lawyers believe threats against Mr Hollingworth are a clear attempt to harass and intimidate him and fellow guards from seeking to be the paid the Award wages.

Mr Hollingworth’s application was on behalf of over a dozen BRI security officers but if successful would affect all of its 200+ security officers in Victoria.

“David Hollingworth has blown the whistle on a dodgy agreement that has many thousands of dollars ripped out of the pockets of Bendigo families,” said Jess Walsh, Victorian Secretary of United Voice, the security union.

“BRI cannot be allowed to get away with this attempt to silence guards. We will stand with David in court and help him defend the right these hard-working guards to be paid Award wages.”

“Bendigo voters should remember that these Work Choices-era laws that allowed BRI guards to be ripped off are precisely the same as Malcolm Turnbull will reintroduce if he is returned to government on Saturday 2 July.”

Union lawyers are poised to make a legal application in the Fair Work Commission to seek to protect Mr Hollingworth’s employment under the “General Protections” provisions of the Fair Work Act.

BRI has contracts with various higher education institutions, the National Gallery in Melbourne and even the Melbourne office of Fair Work Australia itself.

United Voice has called for La Trobe University management to intervene immediately and pull its security contractor into line.