Moves To Unionize Private Security Workers
Moves To Unionize Private Security Workers Website
The Union of Private Security Employees, Ghana (UPSEG) yesterday launched an advocacy programme to unionise all private security employees into the trades union as a means to improve their working conditions and welfare. The programme, which is being sponsored by the Business Sector Advocacy Challenge (BUSAC) Fund, will cover a six-month period and is expected to unionise employees of at least 20 security companies into the trades union. Speaking at the function, the General Secretary of UPSEG, Nana Kofi Adu II, called on organisations and individuals using the services of private security guards to support the union in fighting for better conditions of service for the guards. He reminded them that "poverty anywhere is a threat to prosperity everywhere", saying that the poorly paid security guard could be a threat to the person or institution he or she was expected to guard. According to Nana Adu, some of the guards were even used as house helps to pound fufu and draw water. He said the guards worked for at least 12 hours a day, six days a week, defying the law which said they should work for 72 hours a week. He said the extra hours were not counted as overtime, adding that in some places a guard could work for three continuous months without a day off. "On the average, 14 days are allowed for annual leave but a guard has to get a replacement before he can proceed on leave. In the instance where one cannot find a replacement, he may have to 'sell' his leave days for 10 Ghana cedis," he added. Nana Adu said most guards received a salary of 60 Ghana cedis a month, with about 10 percent of them receiving 100 Ghana cedis. He said some of the clients, including the big state-owned organisations, did not pay the security organisations, particularly those in the private sector, promptly. He said attempts by some security organisations to negotiate better contracts resulted in the existing contracts being abrogated and the clients going in for security firms which charged lesser rates. "Sometimes they even abrogate the contract with the provider and engage the services of a guard as a private security man," he said. Nana Adu commended the Association of Private Security Organisations (APSOG) and the government for their action to bring sanity into the private security sector. He said during the six-month advocacy period, UPSEG would organise sensitisation programmes, workshops and seminars, in addition to radio and television talk-shows. Nana Adu said UPSEG would advocate that in signing security contract agreements, all clients must agree on the percentage of their payments that should go to guards. The impact assessment specialist of BUSAC, Mr Samuel Mensah, expressed the hope that the promotion of unionism among private security organisations would help improve their conditions of service. He said that should result in the strengthening of UPSEG to collaborate more effectively with the other public security agencies in fighting crime. Mr Mensah said although there were a number of private security organisations, the public was yet to feel their presence. A member of the National Labour Commission, Opanyin Obeng Fosu, who chaired the function, said the Labour Law empowered organisations to form and join labour unions to promote and protect their interests .. He said it was a constitutional right which they must explore for their own benefit.