Commenting on reports of reduced staffing levels at Villawood Immigration Detention Centre (Guards to be cut at Villawood: union, Sydney Morning Herald, 8 June 2011) Greens NSW Senator-elect Lee Rhiannon said she remains concerned that Serco management are putting their company’s financial interests before those of its workforce and detained asylum seekers.
“Staffing levels at Villawood Detention Centre should not be cut,” Ms Rhiannon said.
“Serco should release their staffing rosters if they wish to stand by their claim that there has been no reduction in the number of guards in the Villawood Detention Centre.
“I share the concerns of United Voice, the union that covers Serco workers, that staff cuts would make life harder for detainees and put the remaining workers under unacceptable pressure.
“If Serco want the public to believe their claims that there have been no cuts they should be willing to be fully transparent about the number of people they employ at Villawood and how many people are on each shift.
“It’s not good enough for the Immigration Department to state in response to questions on staffing that Serco must adhere to the terms and conditions of its contract.
“The government needs to be more proactive on this issue and they could start by requiring Serco to publicly disclose its staffing levels and their duties at its detention centres.
“The federal government should require Serco to regularly provide details of its staffing levels on its website.
“Serco, like all private corporations will be concentrating on making a profit. Experience has shown that suppressing information about staff cuts can be routine with companies that deliver services for governments. These companies make money by cutting costs and one of their biggest costs are staff wages.
“The Greens are opposed to outsourcing the any detention of people fleeing persecution and those who seek and need Australia's protection,” Ms Rhiannon said.
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