Melbourne Airport security officers voice concerns over weapons, assaults and restricted area access
Melbourne AU Aug 8 2017 Serious concerns about the security of Melbourne Airport have been raised in a confidential survey of security officers.
Attempts to take undeclared weapons through security, doors being forced open to enter restricted areas and assaults on guards were just some of problems highlighted.
The audit, which has been handed to the airport’s operators, warned some security officers were finding contraband items and substances daily.
More than three-quarters of the officers said the job had become more difficult — with an increased workload.
There were also concerns about contracts being given to smaller security contractors.
The survey of 128 security officers, undertaken by the United Voice union, found:
WIRE fences being cut and alarmed doors being forced open to enter restricted areas;
ASSAULTS on security officers as well as the public; and
MORE than one in five officers seeing undeclared weapons being discovered in screenings, including bullets, firearms and large knives.
Nine out of 10 security officers said they wanted the airport’s biggest security contract to stay with ISS Australia — and were worried the airport would seek a cheaper option.
With a decision on the tender due in the coming weeks, nearly half said they would quit if the airport went with another security contractor.
One long-time ISS security officer said: “If the contract went to some small award contractor I would have no choice but to leave or face losing thousands.
“I have seen what small, dodgy operators are doing in other places and it makes me sick to think what that does to the officers and the places they are protecting.”
United Voice state secretary Jess Walsh said hundreds of experienced screening officers could be forced out of jobs.
“At Melbourne Airport we’ve got some of Australia’s most experienced screening officers — they stop weapons from getting on planes,” Ms Walsh said.
“Melbourne Airport has already begun moving to cut-price contractors, who pay rock-bottom wages and have a revolving door of inexperienced casual staff.”
A Melbourne Airport spokesman said: “It would be inappropriate for us to comment on commercial negotiations and we don’t comment on specific matters relating to security, including staffing arrangements”