Jamaica’s Labour Ministry to take legal action against security companies
Jamaica’s Labour Ministry to take legal action against security companies

Kingston, Jamaica: Jamaica Association for Private Security has recently shared information about the newly launched initiative by the Labour Ministry. The Ministry has said it will be taking legal action against security companies that are underpaying security guards and breaching labour laws.

As per the update, Collette Roberts-Risden, Permanent Secretary in the Labour Ministry, made the disclosure at Wednesday’s sitting of Parliament’s Public Administration and Appropriations Committee (PAAC).

This follows instructions by the PAAC for the ministry to investigate complaints by the Jamaica Society for Industrial Security (JSIS) that some companies contracted by government agencies are paying the guards below minimum wage.

The Ministry of Labour visited 14 security companies and said preliminary findings confirm some of the claims by the JSIS.

It added that Roberts-Risden told the PAAC that some of the companies have not been paying overtime and holiday rates as mandated by law. By right, she said, “the individuals should be paid at time and a half in excess of 40 hours. The law also provides that if a worker works on a public holiday, (or rest day) that they are to be paid double time.”

She added that one of the two companies the ministry received complaints about, was issued a government contract. The Permanent Secretary said the security companies which were investigated have been urged to take immediate action to correct the breaches.

“Our officers will be conducting follow up inspections to ensure compliance, and where appropriate, we will pursue legal action if the companies continue to be in breach,” she revealed. Roberts-Risden said 10 complaints from security guards have ended up in court over the last six month, a testament to the fact that the ministry takes the matters seriously.

The update while concluding informed that PAAC member Fitz Jackson, who had argued that the government was complicit in security firms underpaying their guards, said he is in agreement with a recommendation for the affected security guards to be compensated immediately.