SERCO Hell on Christmas Island

Subject: [Refugee] SERCO HELL

[Serco is a service company that was floated on the London Stock Exchange in 1988. It has the contract to manage many of Australia’s detention centres].

Last nights Lateline describes conditions on Christmas Island from a worker perspective. Note Guards admit going on duty “shit-faced”- in other words drunk.

PETER LLOYD: Serco says that’s not true, but the guard we spoke to insists Serco is misleading the Immigration Department about what happens inside the Christmas Island detention centre. He claims the company is desperately short on staff and deliberately inflates worker numbers on paper to cover up the shortages.—

SERCO working conditions demand that workers do 12 hour shifts by six days a week then one day off. In most places this involves one week on day duty, one day off then one week on night duty one day off and back on the merry go around. I asked workers in Scherger for how long this continues – reply as long as you can take it and then you ask for leave. This leaves asylum seekers in the hands of guards so tired, irritable and cranky that they respond with anger to any question or event. The good ones do not last. They do their stint and disappear.

Why do they do it? In remote places the lowest level of SERCO guard earns $2,100 per week – that is over $100,000 per year for people who are unskilled and who have never in their lives seen this sort of money. MONEY buys complicity and silence. Nurses on Christmas Island are paid $180,000 per year- this buys silence. DETENTION is a billion dollar business.

The working conditions are so bad that workers do it for awhile and then burn out and new ones are taken on. The people in detention see the workers turn over and over. SERCO is now flying in guards from UK prisons to fill the gaps. Both the UK and SOUTH AFRICA guards are now across Australian detention centres particularly in remote places. many are angry at the conditions in which they live and work.

The Australian government is using our money, our taxes to play the dirtiest game of politics.

Where are the unions you might ask in protecting workers rights against the GLOBAL PRISON DETENTION CONGLOMERATE – SERCO?

Why does the Government give a contract to a company which then exploits workers?

Does the government contravene workers rights by passing out 457 Visas to SERCO to allow UK prison guards to come to Australia.


Pamela Curr
Campaign Coordinator
Asylum Seeker Resource Centre
12 Batman st West Melbourne 3003
ph 03 9326 6066 / 0417517075


See also Concentration Camp at Scherger in North Qld

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