BITU renews call for Joint Industry Council following reports of security guards being underpaid

BITU Vice President Rudolph Thomas
The Bustamante Industrial Trade Union (BITU) is renewing its call for the Ministry of Labour to establish a Joint Industry Council (JIC).
This follows a report from the Ministry which confirmed that some private security companies have been underpaying security guards.
At Wednesday's sitting of Parliament's Public Administration and Appropriations Committee (PAAC), the Ministry said an investigation revealed that some security companies have not been paying overtime and holiday rates as mandated by law. 
BITU Vice President Rudolph Thomas said the union will be pursuing formal discussions with the Minister of Labour on the matter.
He argued that the JIC would allow a binding arrangement whereby parties come together and there is agreement as it relates to wages and conditions of employment to ensure international standards are met. 
He believes this system is what has led to the "harmonious relationship" in the construction industry, and through a similar arrangement, the sugar industry.  
Mr. Thomas said the union supports calls for the affected security guards to be compensated.
In a news release issued Thursday afternoon, the Jamaica Society for Industrial Security (JSIS), which brought the matter to light, said it is pleased that the government has started a probe into reports that some security guards are being paid below minimum wage.
JSIS President Lieutenant Commander George Overton reiterated that some of the companies in breach received Government contracts.
The JSIS, which represents 28 security companies or approximately 60 per cent of the local private security sector, wrote to the Ministry of Labour last December about reports of the breaches.
According to the JSIS findings, some private security companies underpay their security guards by about 175,000 per annum.

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