Security guards' shift hours: Union replies

The Union of Security Employees agrees with Mr Kang Choon Tian ("Get rid of 12-hour shifts in security industry"; Monday), and has been actively working on improving and uplifting the sector, especially over the past three years.

The union has pushed strongly for the implementation of the Progressive Wage Model (PWM), where there is a road map to raise basic salary, skills and productivity. The model also sets out a pathway to help reduce the industry's reliance on excessive overtime hours to meet manpower needs.

The implementation of the PWM is just the first step. Moving forward, the union is now working with security assessors and systems/solutions companies to provide security assessment services, followed by astute deployment of security systems to buyers of security services.

This will allow a corresponding reduction in manpower required on the ground, and we are pleased that we have seen some good responses in the industry.

This "design for security" is our considered approach at reducing the heavy reliance on manpower for guarding purposes. But this alone is not enough. Security officers must have viable career paths, not just in guarding, but in other security-related positions as well.

Recently, the union launched the Security Specialist Vocation Scheme with Soverus Group, to allow security officers from within the group to move laterally to other job specialisations within the company's lines of business.

This means employees who do not wish to continue as security officers due to various reasons are now able to choose another vocation within the company, and vice versa.

The union intends to work with other security agencies to create similar pathways for our officers, and turn this into an industry initiative in due course.

Hareenderpal Singh
Union of Security Employees

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 23, 2016, with the headline 'Security guards' shift hours: Union replies'. Subscribe