Scourge of underpaid security guards
• BY MARX ITAMALO
SECURITY guards are entrusted with the safety of many people and their properties yet they remain underpaid and in most cases exploited by their employers.
Government recently recommended a minimum hourly rate of N$ 8.75 for security guards but a Confidente investigation shows most security companies operating in the Northern part of Namibia pay between N$ 5 and N$ 7 per hour.
While security company owners are paying these low rates, company owners are living on lucrative contracts some even paid for by the government. To this, there have been calls for government to ice the issuing of tenders to companies with notorious reputations of exploiting their workers, however, the call appear to have fallen on deaf ears.
These skeleton wages add to the plethora of challenges those employed in the security sector are facing such as unfair deductions, lack of uniforms and protective equipment, lack of transport and salary delays or unpaid salaries and unfair dismissals.
Confidente this week spoke to some security guards employed in different town in the North who seethed about their working condition and unfair treatment at the hands of their bosses.
A security guard working for Bertha security services in Oshakati said her she is paid on an hourly rate of N$ 6.50, which translate to N$ 52 a shift. Her salary per month equates N$ 1 560, which she said was not enough to take care of her personal needs and to look after her two school going children. In addition, her boss usually deducts N$ 200 if she is found sleeping on duty.
“I think this is slavery. The salary is already little and when you are found sleeping your salary is deducted, but why deduct when we get such peanuts. It is not fair. I expected them at least to deduct an amount equivalent to the daily rate which is N$ 52 and not to take N$ 200,” she said.
She said those who dared to complain are fired and replaced immediately.
Another guard working for Omukumo security in Ongha stressed that he and fellow employees face the same predicament as alluded to by the security guard from Bertha Security. He pointed out that he had been with the company since its inception and initially understood why they were underpaid but when the company started getting big tenders he expected a raise, something his boss did not do.
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