United Voice, the union for security guards, will be appealing the Federal Court’s decision to favour Wilson Security in a recent decision about claim of underpayment in overtime.

After Wilson began to allocate overtime to Sunday shifts in 2017 guards were losing up to $200 per week on their fortnightly wages. After United Voice ACT member Norm Davis ran his own calculations he contested this new practice and took Wilson to the Fair Work Commission and then to the Federal Court of Australia. In August 2018 the court decided against the claim.

Lyndal Ryan, Secretary of United Voice ACT, says, “The decision of the Federal Court of Australia was deeply disappointing. The decision is yet another example of Australia’s broken industrial system.

“The Court has once again ruled against hard-working people, not just Norm, but security guards right across Australia who are deeply reliant on award protections, including overtime.

“Norm and other security guards will continue to lose up to $200 per week from their wages.

“The fact that a boss can just pick and choose which hours count as overtime, and then be ruled in favour of for this practice by the Fair Work Commission, is patently wrong.

“We continue to support Norm and his stand for his overtime with this appeal.

“It’s no wonder working Australians are calling for the rules to be changed.”

United Voice will appeal the decision in the Full Court of the Federal Court of Australia. The union will argue that not only is the judgement inconsistent with previous decisions, but also that it ignores the actual definition of overtime.

The effect of the recent Federal Court decision is that overtime is determined not by reference to the award but by reference to an employer’s discretion. This means that a security worker who does a 42 hour week, commencing on a Monday public holiday can be denied overtime because the employer says that the first four hours of work exceeded ordinary hours.