A JOB centre security guard has revealed she faces “constant abuse, threats and harassment” after joining the picket line to demand extra pay.

Kelly O’Connor joined 1,000 security guards across the country working for G4S security firm as part of strike action organised by the GMB Union.

The workers are demanding a pay increase from G4S for contract work carried out for the Department for Work and Pensions to reflect the “horrific violence and abuse” they suffer.

Ms O’Connor, who works at Southend's job centre in Tylers Avenue, joined a picket line with other security guards on Monday.

G4S has claimed it has made 12 pay offers to GMB, including a backdated 6.5 per cent pay increase and insists the “safety of officers is the utmost importance”.

Ms O’Connor, 44, said: “We get a lot of verbal abuse. We get threats almost daily and we have people throw lit cigarettes into the job centre and pick up chairs to smash windows.

“We have had people threaten to trap people in the building and burn it down as well, we are on a busy site, and we need five guards a day to stay open.

“I work on a dangerous site, and we are on the minimum wage. We wear body cameras as a result.

“It is draining and when I get home, I just need to take a deep breath because it is mentally damaging here.

“The abuse is constant throughout the day and the number of times I have said I will leave is high, I have come so close, but I believe we will win the war and get what we are entitled to.”

Ms O’Connor, who has been working with G4S for a year and a half added that the core of the dispute is a one pound pay rise and “it has been three years since we have seen a pay rise.”

A spokesman for GMB said: “G4S Staff on the Department for Work and Pensions contract work high risk jobs only to receive the lowest wages legally possible. They have had enough of G4S taking their valuable and important work for granted.

“The refusal of G4S to put forward a serious offer to our members is an insult to our members and they’re also consciously placing staff at risk by allowing the dispute to continue.”

A spokesman for G4S said: “”We’re disappointed that the GMB has refused to take our improved pay offer to their members. We are continuing to try to reach an amicable agreement, and have implemented contingency plans to minimise disruption.”