New handbook highlights employment rights for security officers

Security officers will now be able to refer to a handbook when in doubt about their rights as employees.

The Union of Security Employees (USE) and WorkRight launched a security officer handbook on Thursday morning. The manual covers workplace issues such as employment rights and benefits and is presented as a comic book.

Speaking at the launch at the Marina Barrage, guest-of-honour Mr Zainal Sapari, director of the NTUC Unit for Contract and Casual Workers, called private security officers the "unsung heroes" who have contributed greatly to ensuring peace in Singapore, but are often underappreciated.

"Many security companies, when they compete with each other, some of them inadvertently might do away with statutory benefits of security officers as a means of cutting cost," he said. "With this handbook, we hope to create a greater awareness among the security employees so that they know what are their statutory rights. If they come across a situation when the employer denies their rights, they can approach the union or the Ministry of Manpower to address their grievances."

Security officer Valluvan A. Subramaniam, a Soverus Security employee who guards the Faber House carpark in Somerset, feels that the handbook is accessible and comprehensive. "It is easy to read and has all the stuff I need to know," said the 31-year-old.

Mr Zainal also announced that the USE is working to implement a progressive wage scale, which will better match the performance of security employees with their pay, and provide a better work-life balance.

He explained: "Currently, (their pay structure) is typically characterised by low basic salary with high allowances. Even though gross salaries have improved overtime, the salary structure must be reviewed so that a security officer can earn fair wages by working 8 hours per day instead of having to work for 12 hours per day."

The event was attended by about 200 security industry employees and employers, as well as committee members of the USE. About 5,000 copies of the handbook will be distributed to security employees, and an online version can be found on the NTUC and WorkRight websites.