Resignation letter from a Broadspectrum employee who worked on Manus Island

The following is the resignation letter from a Broadspectrum employee who worked on Manus Island:

“Please consider this my official resignation as of [redacted].

I have thoroughly enjoyed my time working with the transferees on Manus Island and have not taken this decision lightly, sadly the same can not be said for my time in the employment of Transfield/Broadspectrum.

I firstly consider the reduction in allowances a major miscarriage of justice. No consultation was provided nor valid justification for the hefty reduction in allowances. Whilst I accept that staff fortunate enough to be placed in the RPC2 have had a dramatic improvement to their working conditions, staff who have HAD to remain in RPC1 are in the same conditions that we commenced in some two years ago. This is of course with the exception of a tripling of our workload and client load due to the mass exodus of disgruntled workers. Manus Island and PNG remain an incredibly dangerous place, isolated and remote. Yet Broadspectrum management do not feel there is any justification for a reasonable hardship allowance? I am aware that our room accommodation has improved since the bibby days, however I also Highlight that on my fly in fly out day I have often been sharing with 4 men so I really don’t see much improvement to justify a 34% drop in salary (bibby share with 4/5, new accommodation share with 4).

Secondly, the constant bullying, discrimination, harassment, devaluation and degradation of staff has taken its toll. I have never worked for an organisation that has so consistently devalued staff on a routine basis. Over the last two years I have been REPEATEDLY told by senior management such as [redacted],[redacted],[redacted],[redacted], that I am easily replaceable, non essential, flat batteries (incapable of being recharged), welfairies, carebears, whingers and lazy. This was routinely stated publicly and despite a large number of complaints and resignation letters citing that as a direct reason, this culture or behaviour was never addressed. I understand this behaviour to go against every value and code of conduct that this organisation publicly states yet very clearly privately has no issue with.

When staff were being compensated for this degradation, many were prepared to overlook many of these issues, however as the company has continued to claw away at salary these issues have become poignantly obvious as issues that can no longer be overlooked. As in many organisations in welfare at least you can say you are valued if not paid very well. However in this organisation we cannot even say that. The base pay provided to welfare staff is manifestly below average, again highlighting the companies complete lack of understanding of this field. Whilst statistics will show that welfare staff (entry level) are paid $55,000 p/a it does not show that these wages are complimented by REAL salary sacrificing boosting salaries by a further $20,000. The only reason such experienced staff considered employment on Manus in the first place was the additional allowances. However, with the continual whittling away of this incentive there is little benefit to staying and continue to be treated in this fashion without adequate compensation.

I find it difficult to comprehend the mindset of a ‘manager’ who believes that a 34% drop in wages is reasonable, and can then demand double the work performance? has this ever worked in the history of business? The company has on numerous occasions now changed the conditions of my working contract as and when it suits them, regardless of consultation or negotiations. The organisation is however quick to point out contract conditions when its in favour of the company. Staff now spend more time in PNG than at home, and yet see little benefit for this disruption, isolation, segregation and sacrifice.

I do not wish this company well into the future. Staff came to Manus from all facets of the welfare field, coming from Government and Non Government roles and from all parts of the country. Many had multiple degrees with several having PhDs, and years of experience. Yet on island management rather than embracing their knowledge base and experience, were threatened by them due to their own unique ineptitude and as a consequence repeatedly treated them poorly. You have let a golden opportunity to learn from staff with enormous experience walk right out the door, missing the point of hiring experienced staff entirely. These employees have returned to all fields of welfare on the mainland and have taken their sub par experiences with them. As a consequence, I state with all sincerity that without doubt, you will have little hope of ever securing further welfare related roles — your ineptitude in this field and failure to remotely grasp the concept of welfare will ultimately always precede you. Furthermore I have no doubt many of those very same people will be the decision makers in granting future welfare contracts.

Whilst I have enjoyed my role here working with transferees, have had some wonderful experiences and adventures, this company has shown me nothing but contempt, therefore as hard as this resignation might be you have earned it.”

Protest at the Manus Island detention centre on Saturday 14 May, 2016
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