JIS News

Minister of Labour and Social Security, Hon Pearnel Charles, has reached an agreement with private security firms for insurance benefits for security guards’ death or injury on the job, to be calculated on the same basis as that for the police.
Mr. Charles made the announcement in an address to Saturday’s (November 20) Triennial General Assembly of the Bustamante Industrial Trade Union (BITU), at the Jamaica Conference Centre, downtown Kingston.
He said that following approval of the proposal by the Cabinet, he has met with the security companies and they have agreed to the change, which is now being implemented. Security guards who are seriously injured on the job currently receive $2 million, while $4 million is paid for accidental death. There are at least 15,000 persons working as security guards in Jamaica.
Mr. Charles noted that the security guards encounter similar dangers in carrying out their tasks, and should be equally protected, in case of loss of life or serious injury.
He also reiterated his position that pay increases for security guards should not be subject to increases in the National Minimum Wage, a position he stated in his recent contribution to the Sectoral Debate in Parliament.
He said that he has referred the matter to the Labour Advisory Committee (LAC), a tripartite industrial relations body consisting of representatives of the Jamaica Confederation of Trade Unions (JCTU), the Jamaica Employers Federation (JEF) and the Government. He said he expects the LAC to look at the issue within the next two weeks and make a decision.
Mr. Charles had previously proposed the re-establishment of a Joint Industrial Council (JIC) for the security guards, to deal with improvements in their pay and working conditions. A JIC for the industry existed up to the 1980s. JICs include both trade union and employer representatives who set pay and working condition standards for an industry.
The BITU also passed a resolution at the assembly urging Mr. Charles to proceed, immediately, with the proposal to re-establish a JIC for the security industry.
The resolution, moved by the union’s senior vice-president, Wesley Nelson, called on the Minister to convene a meeting, urgently, to discuss the setting up of a JIC. It was unanimously supported by the delegates.

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