8 September 2006

Serco Sodexho takes the axe to defence contractor's pay

| johnboy
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The Canberra Times has a horror story on the Anglo-French defence giant Serco Sodexho taking over a string of defence logistics contracts around Canberra.

Of course they won the bid by low-balling and as a result they’re asking the staff they’re taking over (because they don’t actually have their own people to do the job) to take a large pay cut for the privilege of being jerked around by a new contractor.

Well done Defence for a particularly badly managed outsourcing!

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Well it looks as though Serco-Sodexho are aiming to reduce wage rates for its staff, and their staff are expected to voluntarily sign Australian Workplace Agreements (AWAs).

Doesn’t sound like there is any voluntary aspects to this AWA. Serco Sodexho are behaving in a heavy handed and stupid manner, at its transparently so. I agree with Kim Beazley when he says if 50% of staff want a collective agreement, then so be it.

I don’t think Australian diggers would like to know that cleaners are going to suffer pay cuts. And people who have read John Howard’s support of Seco-Sodexho should realise this.

Ant there’s already a rail line there – has been for a long time (I think that the bridge it uses to cross the Molonglo is heritage listed). I doubt that a spur-line would be warranted for 400-800 staff given that there will be major raod access from both the Kings Hwy and Captains Flat Road.

HQJOC is definitely go – a number of tenders are already on the street. I was involved in one on Friday.

On another note, if the govt chooses to outsource, then they get to set the rules. If they screw it up, they have noone but themselves to blame.

From previous experiences within the ADO, the awarded contractor will find out the real cost beyond tender, and then reapproach Defence for more money, who will give it to them on account of the rife stupidity which is our defence force leadership today.

Watch it happen.

Outsourcing is a joke. As for enforcing contracts, sure, that might happen, one day. NOT. And the companies who get the contracts know it. as for security clearances, who actually checks that all contracted staff have them? I know for a fact that this particular requirement is rorted.

HQJOC will be built, but the managment of that whole affair has been pretty shambolic too. On the plans, they have a little train line, which puzzles me a bit. They’ll have to take over land to put that on, and it crosses the King’s Highway at one point. It’d make sense, if that’s how they’re going to bring staff in. But it’s puzzling.

I would say predictable rather than ironic, but this is all a discussion for another thread

If the bungendore HQ doesn’t , I know a few mid sized building companies that won’t be very happy !

Some works have already started at HQJOC

Ooh Thumper! Don’t say bad things about the unfettered free market! That would make you a great big hippy!

On your tangent…I reckon it will open, and will be a massive white elephant.

“On a tangent, I reckon the Defence HQ outside Bungendore will never be built.


Haven’t tenders been opened for that yet?

Thing is, there is a hell of a lot of intertia in low income jobs (people are too scared, too unmotivated, or have too little self esteem to apply for other jobs).

VY – you and I might be happy to chase the money, but in my experience, the lower down the payscale you are, the less likely you are to play your logical part in the free market.

Also – I reckon this sets a precedent that will drive down wages at other companies in this sector. The free market doesn’t work for the good of everyone – it has no morality – it just does its thing.

Exactly. Let the market pressures do their thing!

I’d walk away.

When serco realise it will take 18 months to get an NV or PV for a gardener, they might pay their staff more realistically.

“yeah, like thats going to happen”

Well then we should be pushing our govt to do something about it. And they need to grow some balls.

Brendan will sort them out, just like he’s got Kaman running scared over the (Not so)Super Seasprites!

yeah, like thats going to happen

…then it’s up to defence, with the Australian Government standing behind them, to take them to task for it. This is something that doesn’t happen enough in this town, and it’s the reason for a lot of crappy outcomes.

Those people who don’t want lower pay are free to head to another employer. Most defence contractors are screaming for staff at the moment.

Then let SS deliver what they said they would. It’s called the free market, let it run it’s course.

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