Private security firms directed to stop monthly remittances to COTU

Private security firm officers at a parade during a past Labor Day event. [File, Standard]

Private Security firms have been directed to stop remitting monthly deductions to the Central Organisation of Trade Unions (COTU).

COTU’s core mandate is to represent the voices of workers by fighting for their social and economic welfare among others.

In a communique to all firms, Private Security Regulatory Authority CEO Fazul Mahamed says the decision was made following complaints from various companies.

“Therefore, pending conclusion of the investigation, all private security companies are hereby directed to effective immediately stop deducting and remitting private security officers' trade union fees to the Central Organization of Trade Unions, COTU Kenya,” Mahamed’s statement reads in part.

“Notably, private security officers constitute a large percentage of COTU'S membership and despite their low salaries have faithfully contributed trade union fees to COTU for decades,”.

According to Mahamed, the Authority has initiated an investigation into the complaints raised.

“Preliminary investigation by the Authority has confirmed that indeed private security officers have made significant contributions to COTU in the form of monthly trade union fees - preliminary estimation puts this figure in Billions of Shillings,” he says.

“Regrettably, notwithstanding their significant financial contributions,  COTU has not lived up to its mandate and has persistently disregarded, declined, and/or neglected to advocate for their rights,  advocate for compliance with minimum wage, and promote their general welfare,”

The Authority says the deductions will remain frozen until it says otherwise after conducting and completing the investigations.

Additionally, any firm found making the remittances to COTU risks deregistration.

The Private Security Regulatory Authority is a Government Agency established under Section 7 of the Private Security Regulation Act No. 13 of 2016 and is charged with the responsibility of regulating the Private Security Industry by the Act and the values and principles set out in the Constitution. Section 9 (k) of the Act mandates the Authority to promote the protection and enforcement of the rights and welfare of private security officers (security guards). 

In the last few months, PSRA and COTU have not been reading from the same script with COTU accusing the Authority of being the greatest impediment to the enhancement of the rights and welfare of private security guards.

In February, PSRA issued a notice, calling for a new minimum wage of Ksh30,000 per guard, which did not sit well with some private security firms.

A fortnight ago, the authority said it would direct private security officers not to contribute finances to COTU until the union starts advocating for the rights, payment of minimum wage, and improved welfare of the guards.

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