Withdraw Private Security Bill | Letters to the Editor

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It is common knowledge that there is a minimum wage in T&T. The minimum wage is legislated by the Minimum Wage Act 35 of 1976, as amended by 11 of 2000. The minimum wage is periodically adjusted through the issuance of Minimum Wage Ordinances.

Setting the minimum wage is not all that is covered by the legislation. It also lays down the working conditions applicable to vendors, housekeepers, catering workers and security workers.

These terms, as set out in minimum wage ordinances, relate to, among other things, hours of work, overtime, sick leave and annual leave. The Minimum Wage Order 1994, as applied to employees in the security industry, included the following:

7. (1) A full-time employee is entitled to annual leave with pay of fourteen calendar days after completing twelve months of service from the date of his employment, provided he has worked a minimum of two one hundred and twenty days within this period.

8. (1) An employee is entitled to sick leave for fourteen working days per year with pay subject to

(a) his continuous employment with the security organization for a period of at least six months; and

b) his production of a medical certificate for any period of illness exceeding two days.

10. A security organization is responsible for providing a security guard without precept (a) uniforms consisting of five shirts, two pairs of pants and one pair of boots per year; and (b) the equipment he is required to use in the performance of his duties.

A year later, the 1995 Minimum Wage Ordinance removed the provisions for sick leave, annual leave and the provision of uniforms contained in the 1994 ordinance. Security employees were thrown out in bamboo and today enjoy much less legislative protection than other workers.

As a result of this removal, security companies are denying their employees the sick and annual leave benefits that other workers enjoy and in effect requiring workers to purchase uniforms which they must return when they leave their jobs. .

The fastest growing sector of the workforce is the security industry. These workers are denied the benefits enjoyed by other workers. The Estate Police Association (EPA) is mandated by law to represent only precepted estate agents, and as we will discuss in another article, discrimination and exploitation will be intensified if the 2022 bill on the private security industry is enacted. The bill has already been introduced in the Senate. If not removed, the security industry will make the Wild West look like a joke.

Not satisfied with having security industry employees among the very working poor, the ruling elites are increasing pressure on all workers through wage freezes, massive cuts and attacks on National Insurance benefits .

The situation of security workers is integral to the attack on workers’ benefits and their ability to enjoy a decent standard of living in a fragile economy that is in a state of accelerated collapse.

The policy of the government, according to the prime minister, is to make the rich richer. The policy of privatization, downsizing of the public sector, elimination of wages, elimination of subsidies, absence of price controls and dismantling of the industrial sector is taken directly from the manual of the international financial agencies.

TSTT has already dumped its property policing department, paving the way for TTEC, WASA, CDA, Nipdec, Central Bank, NP, Plipdeco Lake Asphalt, Port, MTS and Airport to prevail and follow suit . Amalgamated Security is already at Petrotrin and TSTT and is poised to reap a harvest when the Private Security Industry Bill is signed into law – that is, if we allow it!

Gerry Kangalee

Rambert Village

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