Private security firms on spot for exploiting guards

Private Security Regulatory Authority (PSRA) CEO Fazul Mahamed and Interior PS Karanja Kibicho (R) when they appeared before the National Assembly Delegated Committee on the Private Security Regulations at County Hall, Nairobi. Boniface Okendo/Standard]

Security guards have narrated their alleged suffering at the hands of private security firms which they accused of collecting millions of shillings from clients but pay them peanuts.

It emerged that some security firms collect as high as Sh50,000 from their clients per guard but pay security personnel as low as Sh8,000 per month.

The guards further said the firms do not remit statutory deductions like National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF), thereby exposing them to suffering whenever they seek medical attention.

Female colleagues

Kenya National Private Security Workers’ Union Secretary General Isaac Andabwa told National Assembly Delegated Legislation that some of their female colleagues have been dismissed for being pregnant.

Mr Andabwa shared the details even as an association of the security firms declared its opposition to the proposed Private Security Regulations by the Interior ministry.

The regulations have proposed, among other things, a minimum pay of Sh27,000 to the security officers, a figure that the Private Security Joint Association told the committee was unrealistic.

Interior Principal Secretary Karanja Kibicho, who also appeared before the committee yesterday, told the team chaired by Gladys Shollei (Uasin Gishu) that the regulations seek to end exploitation of the guards by the firms.

Dr Kibicho said security firms should start treating guards with dignity by giving them commensurate pay.

“When you listen to the guards, their story is different from what the firms are saying. We have to be fair to both parties,” he said.

The ministry also clarified that not all guards will be handed firearms once the regulations take effect in January, next year.

Kibicho said issuance of firearms would be a discretion of the National Security Council.

The union of guards declared its support for the proposed regulations, and warned those against it that they will not allow to continue being treated like “monkeys”.

In its submission to the committee, Private Security Joint Association said the amount being proposed as salary was unrealistic, citing economic downturn.

The association said implementing the regulations may force some of the firms out of business thus resulting into mass job loss.

It said that raising the amount would also mean raising what the firms charge their clients. This, the association said, would drive away their clients as their security services would no longer be affordable.

The association further warned implementing the proposals would occasion a spike in crime as homes and businesses would be left exposed.

By Brian Ngugi 46 mins ago
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