Social Protection Taking Legal Action to Recover Money for Security Guards
The Minister within the Ministry of Social Protection – Honourable Keith Scott after a recent engagement with Integrated Security Services, had ordered the company to make immediate payments for all outstanding wages owed to security guards of Regions 5 & 6. The company however failed to comply and will now be taken before the courts to do so.
In a meeting with the Minister, the company had complained of administrative difficulties and had committed to paying the workers immediately and rectifying internal complications in the fastest possible manner.
The Security Service provider is contracted to provide guard services for 96 regional locations in region 5 only, and several others in region 6. These include Public Schools, Hospitals, Health Centres, Regional Offices and the residence of senior officials of the region.
In December 2017 they had retained the contract with the Regional Democratic Council after the former contractor had its services terminated.
The workers are complaining that the Security firm is trying to force them to set up accounts with Citizens bank when they all bank with Republic Bank ad prefer this route. They said it would be difficult to access branches of Citizens bank since that bank does not have branches that are convenient to them.
Since the company has gotten the contract, they have been paid over forty Million Dollars for their service, but have been failing to pay their staff while committing several other infractions, breaching their contractual duties.
They are currently being paid a rate of $350- $420 per hour per guard and are expected to provide over 250 guards, however the company has been paying a rate of $225 per hour to its guards, while the minimum wage stipulates it must pay $255 at minimum. The Region is alleging that the company has also been producing invoices for services they have not been providing and have left several posts without guards.
Regional Executive Officer, Mr. Ovid Morrison explained that the region is now contemplating the enforcement of its termination clause of the contract with the company. He indicated that the region is now being forced to implement emergency measures to secure its properties, since all guards working for the company have abandoned their posts. He said it is because of such cases the Region has implemented a performance bond as a part of its contract.
Recently, over 100 employees protested the regional office, however Mr. Morrison explained that all monies were paid to the company and it is now their responsibility to provide the requisite remuneration to their employees.
The Department of Labour has since reassured the workers that legal action against Integrated Security Services will be sought to recover their monies.
It is only recently that the Labour Department had conducted a special training session with the security firm with regard to their operation in Berbice.
The department continues to conduct various training sessions with employers. As recent as March 14th training with employers of region six was conducted in regard to best practices for Occupational Safety and Health which also addressed several industrial relations concerns. Over the last few weeks, several such training sessions have been held throughout the country.
The Ministry of Social Protection wishes to reinforce that all employees must follow the laws of Guyana; maintaining its commitment that all laws which fall under the purview of the Ministry of Social Protection will be strictly enforced.