This past week, a 68-year-old woman was brutally murdered and her body dumped in a city burial ground. The woman had worked in a private security firm and her death has cast the spotlight on the large number of elderly persons who are employed in the private security sector.
The private security sector expanded exponentially during the 1980’s when the economy contracted and thieving intensified. Many businesses, which prior did not bother to have security guards, found themselves victims of break-ins.
Given the need for more ‘watchmen’, security firms mushroomed. One of the biggest security firms in the country was started by a man who, at the time, only had a few hundred dollars and a motorcycle.
The private security sector is now more modern than the primordial services provided then. Private security firms are now offering a more diversified portfolio of security services. Many of them are better equipped and better managed. And many provide technology-based services, including electronic business monitoring.
But not everyone can afford such services. And some businessmen are too damn cheap to upgrade their security services. As such, there remains a need to recruit watchmen and watchwomen to keep guard over businesses, homes and their assets.
Too often many of those employed are old. A great many elderly men and women are employed within the sector. This raises a need for greater regulation of employment within the sector as to ensure that the elderly and infirm are not exploited.
A 68-year-old person should be home enjoying time with his or her grandchildren. Not having go to work in security firms. However, the reality is that many persons, including the elderly are still finding it hard to make ends meet. They are forced to go out and find jobs.
The problem is that companies are not keen to employ them and so they end up with the easiest but lowest paying profession at the moment – security guards. The pay which some of these guards receive and the difficulties which some of them have in receiving their wages is shocking.
There are lots of old people working within security firms because, in most instances, they are the only persons who are willing to take such jobs. People being elderly and desperate means that they are susceptible to being underpaid and overworked. The easiest work to obtain in the economy is security jobs. Once you have two feet and two arms, you can be assured that you will find a security job. It does not matter if you are an alcoholic or enfeebled. In fact, some companies like these sort of employees because they can exploit more than able-bodied persons.
Young people are not drawn to the sector. Many young persons who are not working do not wish to be seen in a security uniform. Some of them have too much pride.
On the other hand, there are some middle-aged guards who wear their uniforms as if it is badge of honour. And they can abuse their authority. Anyone who has been to some of those utilities companies where you have to line up, will confirm that some of these guards can be real nuisances. Some of them would put one of their friends in front of you in the line. And if you protest, you may find yourself having to wait a little longer.
It is sad what happened to that woman who was murdered. The police should leave no stone unturned in finding her killers. But equally troubling is the question of the country’s social assistance programme. A woman that age should not be working. She should have been home enjoying her retirement rather than having to go out to work.
Security firms should have a retirement age. No one above the age 65 should be working in the sector. It is not good for the persons and it is not ideal for the security firms.
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