Security guards owed thousands

2008-05-21 00:00

Exploitation of security officers by their employers has come under the spotlight after probes by the Labour Department in the Durban area have revealed that scores of security industry bosses in KwaZulu-Natal have been short-changing their employees by over R1,3 million in outstanding wages, in direct contravention of the law.

Department of Labour inspectors have charged 47 companies with deliberately flouting the law that prescribes a minimum wage in the sector, and ordered them to pay the outstanding wages, said spokesperson for the department Zolisa Sigabi.

"Since October 2007, Durban Labour Centre’s Security Sector Task Team has resolved almost 62% of complaints lodged by employees and unions for under-payment of wages, non-payment of leave pay, bonuses, Sunday work, public holidays and illegal deductions for uniforms.

"In some cases, it was found that penalties for inferior security services being rendered were illegally deducted from the wages of security officers by the employer," said Sigabi.

Topping the list for non-payment of leave and bonuses is Isidingo Security, which owes its employees more than R409 000, followed by Noluvo Security (R306 309), while Indlondlo Security has defaulted by R248 755, according to Sigabi.

"Lack of co-operation from employers, obstruction of labour inspectors from conducting inspections, as well as ignoring of subpoenas has prompted the referral of compliance orders to the Labour Court. The department awaits trial dates for all the cases referred."

The department has urged businesses and clients of security companies to check whether employers adhere to labour legislation when tenders are awarded.

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