Asylum seekers on Manus Island say staff employed by local security firm Paladin to guard Australian immigration centres have walked off the job.
In a petition to Paladin management, staff say they are striking over pay and working conditions.
“Guards are not compensated fairly; these guards deal or interact directly with the residents, they can be easily attacked, harassed, insulted, assaulted and even killed depending on a situation,” the statement says.
There are “no risk allowances added to their $2-3 per hour rates that they have on average.”
“Hours of work are not compensated well; overtimes are not paid.”
The strikes comes after details of the Australian Government’s $423 million contract with Paladin were revealed this month.
The controversial contract, originally awarded through a closed process, was heavily scrutinised in Senate estimates after it emerged the company had been registered at a Kangaroo Island beach shack.
Asylum seeker Behrouz Boochani tweeted on Tuesday that the situation was “very abnormal”.
“No one is working today, all the cleaners, guards, medical staff, drivers and kitchen staff left work today.”
He said that Papua New Guinean staff wrote a letter to Paladin management demanding fair pay, but have not received a response, prompting the protest.
Paladin redirected media inquiries to the Home Affairs Department, saying only: “Our number one priority and focus right now is the safety, security and wellbeing of our staff, the communities in which we operate and the people in our care.”
The Home Affairs Department has not yet responded to SBS News inquiry.