Security guards still mistreated
Security guards working in the Caprivi Region are worse o than their peers in the rest of the country as the maximum salary paid to guards in that region is N$200.
This was revealed in a Labour Resource and Research Institute (LaRRI) report titled ‘Guarding Wealth but Living in Poverty’ which was launched in the capital recently.
The report, which examines working conditions in the local security industry, states that security companies in the Erongo Region pay their employees the most, with salaries ranging from N$600 to N$2 000 per month.
“This is because trade unions in that region are strong,” said LaRRI Director Hilma Shindondola-Mote, who presented the report.
The LaRRI Director said many security guards accept the employment as they have no other alternative.
She added that 50% of the security guards in the private security sector live in corrugated iron shacks and cannot be guaranteed a loan from the local banks.
Another shocking figure shows that only 18% of security guards get lunch breaks of around 30 minutes, while 82% of those interviewed said they do not get lunch breaks.
About 39% of security guards never signed employment contracts, while of the 60% that have signed contracts, 21% did not understand the contents of their contracts.
It was also found that 80% of the security guards did not possess a copy of their contracts because the companies they work for did not provide them with it.
Shindondola-Mote stated that it is important for trade unions to take up the responsibility of teaching their members about the importance of acquiring a contract. She further expressed concern about the fact that most security guards carry various types of firearms, but never received training on how to handle them.
The LaRRI Director also expressed dissatisfaction with the fact that many security companies are poorly run with inadequate infrastructure.
“Minimum standards should be set as to who should run a security company,” she stressed.
With regards to remuneration, Shindondola - Mote said that many security guards work excessive hours without overtime pay. She suggested that hours in excess of statutory working hours should be regarded as overtime and workers should be compensated accordingly.
The study also revealed that while knowledge about the role of the Social Security Commission (SSC) and trade unions are high amongst the guards, membership is relatively low.