Jul 11, 2013 News
…more than 80 staff to go home
-Wants Gov’t to increase hourly rates to accommodate new minimum wage
R.K. Security Services has served Government termination letters for private guard services to about 15 state entities with effect from July 15. The company is willing to change its position if Government decides to increase its hourly rates being offered on contracts already activated.
However, if the situation remains unchanged the employment status of 80 or more security personnel and possible financial and management staff would be directly affected.
This is according to Roshan Khan, Chief Executive Officer of R. K. Security Services during a press conference at the company’s head office at Light and Charlotte Streets, Georgetown. He was supported by Vibert Scarce, representative of GEB Security Services.
Government’s silence on the company’s demands to increase the rates to match the financial burden gained from the new minimum wage of $200 per hour and 40-hour work week has led to Khan taking this hard decision or face bankruptcy.
According to the private security operator, the company has no objection to the new minimum wage and believes that it should have been implemented a while ago. However, the company has a problem with the manner in which Cabinet decided to increase and the quickness to implement the minimum wage.
On May 9, last, Cabinet Secretary Dr. Roger Luncheon announced that full-time workers outside the Public Sector would be paid no less than $35,000 monthly, $8,000 weekly, or $200 per hour, from July 1.
According to Khan, who declared that he is not anti-Government, the timeframe- May to July- was inadequate to prepare clients for the new rates. In addition the company was never consulted about the new minimum wage until the decision was made by policy makers and announced.
He noted that Consultative Association of Guyanese Industry Limited invited him for a meeting in mid June following strong protest from a particular company that competes internationally.
In addition, former Chairman of the Private Sector Commission Ramesh Dookhoo, who was there, agreed that the manner in which the new minimum wage was being implemented was improper.
Khan said that his company has written to Government requesting increased rates under his contracts but only received acknowledgement of receipts. R.K. Security Services provides security for Ministries, Ministers’ residence and other Government entities.
Khan said, “All the Ministries that we work for and the Government to date, have not addressed the matter of giving us an increase; whether they would automatically raise us to the amount they have increased the minimum wage.”
“This is a very important, vexing and disturbing issue…We have not had enough time to approach our clients for an increase. And, within the short time that we did, we are losing the contracts from those clients because the economy is not as robust as we would like it to be, the economy is not doing well, and the business people are taken by shock,” he added.
He said that some clients are trying to work out a system to meet the additional $62 per hour with the new minimum wage, but, their proposals of part payments would result in the company suffering a loss, even to the point of bankruptcy.
According to Khan, it is unbelievable that Government would increase the minimum wage without doing the arithmetic of the effects. He explained that if his company tenders for $240 per hour and the minimum wage is $200, how would the company be able to offset expense and make a small profit? He said that the desired amount to provide services without making a profit would be $300.
He said that his company is not involved in any illegal activities such as stealing contributions from the National Insurance Scheme or Value Added Tax from Guyana Revenue Authority and therefore needs to access funds legally.
Attempts to contact Labour Minister, Nanda Gopaul, yesterday, were unsuccessful.
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