SINGAPORE — The Security Tripartite Cluster (STC) will consider recommending measures in 2017 to reduce overtime hours to 72 hours per month — or over two hours a day — without a reduction in gross salary, said the labour movement yesterday.
Noting concerns over long working hours and critical manpower shortage in the industry, the STC said the industry’s long-term attractiveness depends on more sustainable working hours. Security officers currently work up to 95 hours overtime each month.
However, should the current overtime hours be brought down from 95 to 72 hours, the industry will not be able to sustain the current demand for security services, said Union of Security Employees president Hareenderpal Singh, who is an STC member. He added: “The industry is short of 10,000 security officers.”
While the introduction of the Progressive Wage Model (PWM) as a licensing condition is aimed at making the sector more attractive, NTUC assistant secretary-general Zainal Sapari said the STC was uncertain whether those who have left the sector would return to plug the shortage. For now, the STC prefers to play safe and monitor the situation, he added.
The number of overtime hours a month allowed under the Employment Act is 72 hours. However, security agencies from time to time request for exemption from this limit. Firms are also required to pay their security guards a certain basic wage before exemption is granted.
Commending security agencies which have already taken steps to reduce overtime hours to 72 hours by moving from a six-day week to a five- or six-day work week, the STC urged the industry to adopt these progressive practices to become more sustainable in the long run.
A mindset shift is needed among the service buyers too, said Mr Zainal and Mr Singh. Firms need to shift from providing headcount-based contracts to performance-based contracts, giving leeway for the security agency to provide the same amount of security with less manpower, said Mr Singh.
This will in turn reduce the need for overtime duties, he added.
news source & image credit: todayonline.com / hrinasia.com