BITU endorses action against security companies 'flouting the law'

Thursday, April 18, 2019

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — The Bustamante Industrial Trade Union (BITU) has welcomed the Ministry of Labour and Social Security's findings and commitment to firm action coming out of reports made yesterday before Parliament's Public Administration and Appropriations Committee (PAAC) in relation to companies found to be flouting the law and engaged in practices that short-change security guards.

The union, in a statement today, expressed its support for action at law to be pursued against these rogue companies, including compelling them to make restitution to disenfranchised guards who can be located and utilising criminal sanctions where applicable.

BITU Vice President, Rudolph Thomas, said: “The outcome of the ministry's investigation confirms more than just the complaints raised by the Jamaica Society of Industrial Security (JSIS); it officially confirms reports which the unions have raised for years now. The situation receiving recent focus as well as the probity of the PAAC, has however put the reprehensible situation in a position where it must be addressed”.

“The security guard industry is particularly dynamic, with workers constantly entering and leaving the space and where flagrant breaches extend beyond merely remuneration, to include a rafter of issues surrounding conditions of employment, which needs to be bench-marked and standardised,” Thomas continued.

He further stated that “Ensuring compliance going forward in a timely and regular manner will be no easy feat and we believe that the time has come for the Ministry of Labour to establish a Joint Industry Council (JIC) similar to that which exists within the Construction Industry which, for the most part, eliminates similar issues”.

Thomas explained that from the Union's perspective, establishing a JIC would among other things:

• Institute basic standards relevant to compensation, benefits and conditions of employment;

• Create a level playfield in the market space where quality rather than cost becomes the main consideration;

• Regularise new and emerging companies while establishing accountability;

• Properly account for Security Guards in the industry, who are minimum wage earners and among our most vulnerable;

• Improve Government revenue intake from the industry;

• Give ease to collective representation

“With the benefits to be garnered from establishing a JIC, the Union will be pursuing formal discussions with the minister of labour to further discourses on the topic, which had been earlier visited,” said the vice president.

He further stated that: “Based on the relevance of this solution at this juncture, the union would be inclined to request the minister to provide any prevailing reason to delay committing to establishing a JIC to protect our security guards if it is not immediately pursued”.

There are approximately 23,000 registered security guards in the island.


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