Union working on more career paths for security guards; launches free health checks

Security officers wait to register for the "Secure Your Health" programme launched yesterday by USE.
Security officers wait to register for the "Secure Your Health" programme launched yesterday by USE. ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN

SINGAPORE - To attract more people to the security industry, the Union of Security Employees (USE) is pushing for more career tracks to be developed within the next decade.

These are a specialist track for skills such as security system installation, lifesaving and using an automated external defibrillator, as well as an ad-hoc track to link about 32,000 freelance licensed officers with jobs through a portal or mobile app.

These tracks build on the progressive wage model -which sets out five levels of security jobs each with minimum pay and skills training - which becomes a compulsory part of licensing for security firms from September next year.

USE executive secretary Steve Tan gave these details at an event on Thursday (Dec 3) to launch a new health programme for guards.

"We have to be more creative, we have to reclaim jobs," said Mr Tan, adding that the industry, which comprises about 75,000 licensed guards, is still short of around 10,000 to 15,000 people.

Meanwhile, USE president Hareenderpal Singh announced at the event that security officers will be able to get free health checks at the USE customer service centre in Waterloo Street in a six-month pilot project.

They will receive basic checks such as for blood pressure and body mass index, and get advice on how to manage their health.

Those who need more detailed checks will be asked to return for another session. Health coaches from the Health Promotion Board will also help eligible officers to apply for medical subsidies if needed.

The health checks will be available during the service centre's opening hours of 9 am to 5 pm on weekdays and 9 am to 12 pm on the eves of public holidays. It is closed on weekends. About 1,200 officers visit the centre each month.

National Trades Union Congress secretary-general Chan Chun Sing said: "Whenever our security employees need to renew their licence, instead of spending five minutes or half an hour waiting aimlessly here, they could put the time to good use by having a health checkup...so that they can better take care of themselves and in turn better take care of their families."

Senior operations manager Jason Chua, 57, of CBM Security said most security officers work 12-hour shifts with only one day off. "Our working hours are very long. We always lack sleep or proper rest, which can really affect our health," he said, adding that the programme will help him monitor his high blood pressure.

The programme is part of the $3 billion Action Plan on Successful Ageing announced in August this year, under which the Health Ministry and HPB aim to bring preventive health programmes to the workplace of about 120,000 older workers in different sectors.