Supporters will rally at Cairns airport tomorrow to protest a multinational company’s decision to leave the city without paying local workers their full entitlements. Some delays to travel are expected as a result.

The high visibility action comes as Danish security contractor ISS prepares to cease operations at the airport and terminate its 100 local workers. ISS recently lost the contract for security services at both Cairns and Mackay airports. The officers employed by ISS at Cairns have been told that their employment will finish on 31 August.


Carl Ratana from United Voice, the union representing the workers, says that while these workers are able to reapply for positions with the new contractor, they will be new employees on probationary employment. “They would start with zero annual leave, zero sick leave and zero long service benefits.”

Despite most workers being employed with ISS for many years, none of the workers are being paid any redundancy.

ISS operates in more than 70 countries with a workforce of 500,000. Its worldwide revenues in 2017 were almost 17 billion Australian dollars.

ISS today warned Cairns staff not to talk to anyone including media, family or friends regarding their operations at the airport. This included work practices and financial information.

“ISS still have contracts to provide security at other airports in Australia. They also have contracts around the country to provide security, cleaning, property and other services. What’s to stop them doing this to other Australian workers as well?” Ratana said.

“Some of these workers have been there for 10 years. They should have the same rights and protections as every other full-time worker.  The contract system is broken. They’ve now gagged their workers from even talking about it. It’s simply a way for companies to dodge giving workers fair wages and conditions.”