Wednesday March 21, 2018   Last updated 18:00PM

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The Militarisation of WINZ

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The Militarisation of WINZ

This week, as a response to the terrible deaths of 3 Ashburton WINZ staff in 2014, Security Guards were placed on the doors of WINZ Offices around New Zealand.

This is supposed to make the staff feel safe.

I doubt it will.

What will make staff feel safe is ending the draconian National Party welfare reforms which are designed to disqualify and stop people getting the help they need.

Already Security Guards have complained to their Unions that being put in between desperate beneficiaries and WINZ staff whose job it is to make those beneficiaries lives even more difficult is dangerous and unfair.

E tū, the union for security guards, says its security guard members fear new MSD protocols are unsafe and could put their lives at risk.

In January, the security guards raised concerns about the protocols which require them to screen people and only admit those with an appointment and photo ID to MSD offices.

E tū Senior Organiser, Len Richards says as predicted, the protocols have seen security guards facing the fury of the public for implementing the new rules.

“The safety issue has moved from inside WINZ offices to outside where security guards are isolated in front of locked doors with nowhere to retreat if they need help,” says Len.

He says security guards in South Auckland now want extra guards on duty outside offices during busy periods to ensure they are safe.

...and it gets worse...

Meanwhile, Len says WINZ is ratcheting up the tension outside its doors, by making it increasingly difficult for the public to access its services.

“Members of the public making appointments with WINZ face the frustration of being turned away if they don’t have photo ID.

“This has the potential to turn ugly, with our security guard members squarely in the firing line.

“WINZ can’t escape the health and safety implications of this situation which they have created.”

...Unite who also represent Security Guards even had one of their Union members stood down for bringing this problem to light...

Armourguard Security have stood down a security guard from a WINZ site because he complained to his union that the company was not taking the guards health and safety seriously.

Dave Toopi, a Unite delegate and union executive member, complained to his union that the new ID check procedure being demanded of WINZ clients put the guards at risk because they have to act at receptionists as well as guards.

Guards are expected to stop all clients, check if they have ID, check if they have an appointment and the time of the appointment. They are holding a folder with sheets of names and appointment times. This creates holdups during busy periods.

...what we are seeing here is WINZ using the Security Guards as another form of deflection and subterfuge that makes it even more difficult for desperate people to access their services.

The only reason WINZ staff are in danger in the first place is because of the terrible policies they are being forced to enact, and by creating another layer of difficulty for desperate beneficiaries to get past, they are simply moving the tension, fury and anger from inside the WINZ office to the outside door where Security Guards are becoming the meat in the sandwich.


Martyn Bradbury

Editor -

Copyright © 2017, UMA Broadcasting Ltd:

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