Tue | Nov 20, 2018

Security companies are modern-day slave masters

Published:Sunday | September 9, 2018 | 12:00 AM

This article was submitted by a former security guard who has requested anonymity.

Many security companies subject their guards to gross abuse. When an individual joins a security company out of frustration of being unemployed, he or she is maltreated and grossly disrespected.

Most guards work tirelessly, and on payday they are told that they cannot receive their salaries, or they receive a quarter or half. If security guards assertively demand their pay, they are often fired or chased from their company's office and told to return their uniform, which they bought for $10,000-$15,000, having had the funds deducted from their wages.

Security companies often stipulate that no employee should get a salary while on probation. One must sometimes work even up to three months to be qualified for remuneration. Guards have to fork out their own money for travelling, uniforms and for food. Most times, they are on a 12-hour shift, or even double.

Security companies are modern-day slave masters, as many of them pay workers a lower rate than the Government authorises.

 

MEDIOCRE WAGES

 

It should be stated, too, that security companies' managers, such as operation managers, accountants and other heads at the office, receive hefty salaries on time, while guards' mediocre wages are often delayed or owed to them.

Uniforms are another crisis. Guards are issued sometimes with one or two uniforms. Because of the length of a shift, they cannot do their laundry appropriately.

Mr Editor, it's only by God's grace that security guards who are not trained but placed in dangerous locations survive gunmen's bullets. Many companies in the Corporate Area and rural parishes are not registered, and they hide behind the high perimeter walls with barbed wires atop. They do not pay the Government's statutory taxes. Some, too, do not have a permanent location or office. Guards are then directed to a lot or someplace convenient where the managers dispatch untrained men and women. These managers evade the Government's scrutiny, as they have no proper or stable address.

I have been employed to several security companies - most times the smaller ones - and had to leave because I could not query my pay or salary. As a consequence, I was unduly fired.

 

DO YOUR RESEARCH

 

I am now letting the country know of the plight security officers face. I also beg prospective clients: Before you solicit the services of a security company, enquire of the relevant government authorities or agencies if the one you are considering is reputable, licensed, and has well-trained guards and dogs. At some companies, dogs are just for show to reap more money from innocent, unsuspecting clients, as they are often worthless, no matter the breed or size of the animal.

I beg of the governmental and regulatory powers that be to step in to protect the rights of officers, as they are human beings and not dogs to be mistreated. In fact, some dogs get better treatment than security guards because they are kept healthy and in tiptop shape.

I also urge the Firearm Licensing Authority to monitor weapons used by security firms to ensure proper accountability and safety procedures.

I hope the relevant authorities stand in defence of security guards and their welfare and challenge security companies that breach government policies and the laws of Jamaica.

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