Dubai: Three months since Dubai Police enforced a deadline to implement a minimum salary for security guards, several companies continue to flout regulations with scores of men in uniform being cheated, XPRESS can reveal.
Last October, Colonel Khalifa Ebrahim Al Salais, Director of the Protective Systems Department of Dubai Police, issued a circular pegging the minimum monthly basic pay for security personnel at Dh1,200. The new guidelines laid down last February also stipulate another 20 per cent be paid towards security guard allowances plus overtime pay and other optional benefits.
However, the ground realities are far removed for some of these men who guard our homes and offices. “We have been waiting for months for an increment, but our basic salary still remains at Dh572 per month. When we ask our managers, they choose to ignore us,” said an unhappy guard identifying himself as Nicky in a email to XPRESS.
Another guard at an exchange house said on the condition of anonymity, “I came here in February knowing I would be paid a minimum of Dh1,200 plus another Dh240 as allowance, but the truth is my company made me sit without any pay.
“I joined work just about a week back and am being made to work 15-16 hours. All I have been paid so far is Dh300. How will I survive like this?”
Cases like these do stick out in an industry that’s witnessing increased standardisation with many guards now earning well above Dh1,700. That’s a figure that is supposed to include overtime pay beyond regular nine-hour weekday shifts as stipulated by Dubai Police with a mandatory four days off a month.
Random checks by XPRESS at various government departments and private establishments including hypermarkets and exchange houses, though, revealed a different picture.
“I am very happy that my salary’s been increased as per the new law,” declared Usman, a guard manning an Empost counter, but not all are paid according to the rules.
“I am getting more, but things haven’t changed much. I still do not get a single day off and if we report sick, the company deducts Dh63 per day from our salary,” said a guard at a well-known hypermarket in Al Karama.
‘Penalties’ ranged from Dh50 to Dh150 for a day off, something that Sergio Rodriguez, the Operations Director of the reputed First Security Group, says is illegal and morally unjust. “Many companies try to win the bidding war by quoting low and they do that by cutting corners like this. Someone always has to pay in circumstances like these, and sadly in most cases, it’s the security guard.”
A unified employment contract for the more than 30,000 security guards working in Dubai’s approximately 300 private security firms remains a dream for many.
“We often have a crunch situation in our industry and request guards to fill in on their off-day for which we, of course, pay more than their normal overtime fees, as per the new directives. But in no way can we force someone to work for as long as we like,” says Rodriguez.
“We respect the person they are and the salaries they earn,” he added.
However, whether all other security firms think the same is still doubtful.
Is it the same situation for security guards in Abu Dhabi?
We often see guards standing for hours on end. Should they be allowed to sit?
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