Job Cuts In Security Industry
And that’s not a good thing, despite what this glowing article from the Straits Times is saying.
For starters, any situation where workers are let go is never good. After their removal from the shopping malls, where can they go? Condominiums? Office buildings? But what if other places decide to follow suit and use technology as an excuse to cut down on the number of security guards at their premises?
Where would those guards go? Let me tell you one hard truth about the security industry in Singapore. I have been working (on an on-and-off basis) as a security guard myself since 1999, and I can tell you that many security guards are unable to move out of their comfort zone in the security industry.
Many of my colleagues don’t even have ‘O’ levels. And I met plenty who were only educated up to primary-school level. But they were able to make a somewhat decent living because security guards working at malls get paid several hundred dollars more than guards at other assignments like schools or condominiums.
Now, maybe those guards who were let go by the malls can find vacancies at less lucrative sites and they can continue to wear their uniforms, but if they are unlucky… What then? Factory jobs are even harder to come by nowadays and many cleaning companies tend to hire cheap foreign workers. You tell me. What can a ex-security guard with primary-level education find in today’s job market?
Finally, I have to ask this question that nobody else seems to be asking.
The malls are using reliance on technology as an excuse to cut down on manpower, but those tech stuff like CCTV cameras have existed for years. The malls aren’t buying new cutting edge technology like security robots, but simply relying on technology that has existed for years already. So why didn’t they cut jobs back then? Why now?
I will tell you why.
Because from September 2016, a security guard’s monthly basic wage will rise from $800 to $1,100 under the new wage ladder announced by the National Trades Union Congress back in 2014. Guards have to be paid more from September 2016 onwards and the malls cut down on the number of guards they have to pay starting from the 1st of October. Wow, they sure act fast, don’t they?
If you are working as a security guard, you should be worried about this trend. Because I have this feeling, right here in my guts, that we will not see an end to the job cuts. If nobody kicks up a fuss now, then condominiums, factories, office buildings and schools may be encouraged to follow suit.
Teck Y. Loh