JAMAICA | PNP Urges Gov't to do more to improve working conditions for security guards

JAMAICA | PNP Urges Gov't to do more to improve working conditions for security guards

KINGSTON, Jamaica, January 21, 2023, People’s National Party Spokesperson on Labour and Social Security Dr. Angela Brown Burke, is expressing concern that the Government is not doing enough to address the working condition of security officers.

In a statement today, Dr. Brown-Burke said while the Opposition welcomes the decision of the Government to upgrade the status of security officers providing security services at ministries, departments and agencies through third-party entities.

Dr. Brown Burke expressed profound disappointment that it will take the Ministry of Finance seven months after the ruling of the Supreme Court in September 2022  to address the change in status of these officers.

The Spokesperson noted that the security officers who have endured years of abuse and sacrifice should no longer be denied basic rights guaranteed to all Jamaican workers.

“The decision by the Government is a step in the right direction, but it does not go far enough, as it leaves all security officers employed in the private sector without protection”, said Dr. Brown Burke.  

She added that the implication of Justice Batts’ decision is applicable to all Jamaican workers under similar circumstances, and the Government has a responsibility to ensure its application to all. 

Dr. Brown Burke noted that there had been reports that the Minister of Labour and Social Security, the Honourable Karl Samuda, has ignored calls by security officers for a meeting.

This, she said, is an indication that the Government has little interest in these issues.

She is therefore making the call for the urgent re-establishment of a Joint Industrial Council for the Industry which would be a clear indication of the Government’s commitment to ensuring that all stakeholders are at the table.

Dr Brown Burke is also calling on the Minister of Finance to provide the terms of reference and the names of the members of the Task Force that have been announced.

The Opposition Spokesperson is insisting that the Ministry of Labour should ensure that all industrial Security Companies are compliant by March 30, 2023, after which the Private Security Regulations Authority (PSRA) should be instructed to suspend the licenses of all non-compliant companies.

Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Dr. Nigel Clarke, announced this week, that the government has established a task force to re-examine the more than 500 contracts for the supply of security services at ministries, departments and agencies.

The task force has been given 100 days for the completion of the negotiations, with the new contracts to take effect April 1.

Dr. Clarke says private companies that fail to follow the example being set by the government should be exposed. 

"Once sufficient time has passed for adjustments to be made, private firms that wish to have the services of security guards, but who fail to amend or enter into contracts that allow security guards to be treated as employees, in my view, ought to be named and shamed," he said.  

He has suggested that employers of security guards contact the Ministry of Labour and the various unions to establish a Joint Industrial Council to preserve harmony in the sector.

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