Up to 30 local jobs lost as firm goes into administration

A GROUP of security workers across the region have been left in the lurch after their company went into administration.

United Security Enterprises Pty Ltd had about 180 staff between the Northern Rivers and Newcastle before administrators were appointed on August 31.

The company's master security licence, which had been valid since February 2010, was cancelled on September 7.

A source said he believed between 20 and 30 people on the Northern Rivers were out of work as a result.

He said some former staff were owed three weeks' wages.

"The guys I have spoken to are very dejected," he said.

He said the situation was "a disgrace" and he feared it would be difficult for clients to access the same level of security resources.

"There is a critical shortage of guards on the Far North Coast," he said.

"There has been for many years."

Until recently, there was no registered training authority for security guards in the local area, he said.

"We had a severe lack of people getting in the industry. It was to the point of getting catastrophic," he said.

Administrator Shumit Banerjee from SV Partners said the company's situation arose from "substantial debt".

Mr Banerjee said United Security employees were stood down on September 7, the day the licence was revoked.

"It's not business as usual at the moment," he said.

But he said they were operating the business on "skeleton staff".

He could not yet confirm how many employees on the Northern Rivers had been affected.

"We're still sort of quantifying this," he said.

Mr Banerjee said the revocation had "nothing to do with" any operational wrongdoing, but was a mandatory practice of the Security Licensing and Enforcement Directorate.

"If a business goes into administration they must revoke the licence," he said.

Mr Banerjee said they were currently considering "what's in the best interest to creditors".

He said they had launched an appeal on the licence cancellation and had meanwhile entered into an agreement with a third party security company to employ their staff on a casual basis.

He said there had been a "loss of customers" which had led to some job losses.

The appeal proceedings are set to go before the Sydney Supreme Court next week.

A spokeswoman for the Australian Security Industry Association confirmed the company's membership was still active and they were aware of the situation. She was unable to comment further.

Mr Banerjee said anyone who had been terminated from the company and had concerns about pay or entitlements could contact his office on 0289868986.