SINGAPORE - I am appalled to learn about how security guards are treated disrespectfully at their workplaces ("Just smile, don't talk"; last Sunday).
Why are security guards not getting the respect they deserve?
The work is considered demeaning because of the meagre pay, long hours, low entry requirements and lack of career advancement opportunities. The security firms, which have proliferated over the years, are responsible for this sad state of affairs.
Have they in any way raised industry standards, increased salaries, shortened working hours, or improved staff welfare?
They have not, judging by the high turnover and current shortage of guards.
The firms act as middlemen between clients and guards, setting aside a hefty portion of the fees for profits and overheads, before handing out the rest to the guards as their wages.
It is time to reconsider whether these "middlemen" are necessary.
For higher pay, shorter hours and better career progression and welfare, security guards should work directly for the clients.
Clients who recruit security guards themselves can save on costs and will have better control over the guards, who will in turn be more committed to their jobs as their career prospects would be directly related to their performance.
This article was first published on November 30, 2014.
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