98 security firms join hands to standardise industry practices

At the signing ceremony yesterday are (from left) Security Association of Singapore (SAS) senior vice-president Lorraine Lim, NTUC assistant secretary-general Zainal Sapari, SAS president Raj Joshua Thomas, Association of Certified Security Agencies
At the signing ceremony yesterday are (from left) Security Association of Singapore (SAS) senior vice-president Lorraine Lim, NTUC assistant secretary-general Zainal Sapari, SAS president Raj Joshua Thomas, Association of Certified Security Agencies (Acsa) president Robert Wiener, Weavepact Security Services deputy president John Vijayan Vasavan, and Union of Security Employees executive secretary Steve Tan.PHOTO: UNION OF SECURITY EMPLOYEES

Besides having standard contract clauses, they will share info on unreasonable clients

Ninety-eight security firms have banded together to set industry norms in areas such as payment schedules, how disputes should be resolved and when contracts can be terminated.

They have also agreed to alert one another about clients which include "unfair clauses", such as those which allow contracts to be terminated only by the client.

The security firms have also pledged not to do business with such clients until the association has sent them materials on fair-contract clauses.

These were among the key terms of a pact signed at a ceremony yesterday by 98 out of 248 security firms which are members of either the Association of Certified Security Agencies (Acsa) and Security Association of Singapore (SAS) .

On the reasons behind these pledges, Acsa president Robert Wiener said: "Sometimes, companies fail to pay workers their wages on time.

"The aim of the clauses is to get it down to proper figures, within a specific time. There should be time limits on payouts."

For instance, a "standard" prompt-payment clause agreed by the firms states that for security guards at residential premises, clients have to make payment of 80 per cent of the monthly salary within two weeks from the start of the month.

SAS president Raj Joshua Thomas said: "For clients who have unreasonable contractual practices, members of the MOU can inform us and we will send some materials on fair-contract clauses to these clients."

As to why the security firms came together, he explained: "We cannot have a solution that one association rolls out just for its members. For the types of clauses, it must be for all of the industry, it can't be just for one group or the other."

Still, it is up to the client to decide whether to include the "standard" clauses.

 

"While the standard clauses are in line with industry consensus on what fair clauses should look like, ultimately a contract is a matter of a private agreement between the firm and the client. They are free to negotiate the clauses."

Both associations yesterday also signed a separate memorandum of understanding pledging closer cooperation, marking a break from a long-running rivalry to attract customers.

Mr Wiener said this MOU - which details initiatives such as forming a steering committee comprising their respective presidents to coordinate activities and initiatives - means that both associations will work closely on joint projects and move forward as "one association and one industry".

"For us, historically we used to be very separate and agenda-driven. Today, we are not agenda-driven. We are industry-driven," he said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 17, 2018, with the headline '98 security firms join hands to standardise industry practices'. Print Edition | Subscribe