Security, cleaners first to go at UNSW

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Security, cleaners first to go at UNSW

Unions believe 100 cleaners and security guards will be the first to go as the University of NSW moves to sack 600 workers as part of a multi-million dollar cost cutting exercise.

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Unions believe 100 cleaners and security guards will be the first to go as the University of NSW moves to sack 600 workers as part of a multi-million dollar cost cutting exercise.

The Liquor, Hospitality and Miscellaneous Workers Union (LHMU) as the key security and cleaning union on campus is campaigning to have the university accept it may have acted too hastily. Annie Owens, LHMU NSW Secretary said the university never revealed their sacking plans during enterprise talks.

'Our members are flabbergasted by the disloyalty and two-faced actions of the top people at this university who recently signed a new enterprise agreement - which took a long while to negotiate - and then a week later they announce forced redundancies,' she said.

No hint of cuts

'At no time during the negotiations did they even hint of plans to get rid of 600 workers - with LHMU members as the first cab off the rank.'

Owens said it was obvious the university was planning these sackings while they talked to the union about a new enterprise agreement.

'You don't produce overnight such an intricate redundancy proposal,' she said. 'Every one of the cleaners facing the sack has given more than a decade of service to the university. We've got members who've worked there for 28 years, 25 years, 22 years... the "baby" of the group has done a decade of service to the university.'

Sensitive research

Owens said the plan to outsource the security work was something which 'should be revisited' at a major university where sensitive research demands complete trust and loyalty and a deep knowledge of the movements of individuals around the campus.

'Many of our people who have worked at the university have close bonds with place and know the campus intimately,' she said.

'That long relationship gives them an innate sense of where and when security problems may pop up and allows them to instantly recognize if someone is wandering around a building who should not be there.'

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