Higher pay and less overtime for security officers
Good news for the more than 34,000 security officers here - the Government has accepted recommendations to increase their monthly salaries and limit their overtime hours.
Security officers will, over the next three years, see their basic pay increase by about $300, followed by a minimum yearly increment of at least 3 per cent in the three years after that.
From 2021, security officers can work overtime (OT) only for a maximum of 72 hours every month.
Currently, companies can apply for exemptions for their workers to go past the limit.
These recommendations came from the Security Tripartite Cluster (STC), which revealed them yesterday.
The STC said the increasewas proposed to balance the wages after the lowered limit on OT hours.
It added that the recommendations hope to make the industry more attractive to attract new blood amid increased demand following the emergence of new infrastructure and rising threat of terrorism.
But this will not come without cost.
At a media briefing yesterday that detailed their recommendations, STC members explained that service buyers will likely see an increase in the cost of security services.
In fact, from now to 2021, companies could be paying about 30 per cent to 35 per cent more due to the changes, said Mr Robert Wiener, president of the Association of Certified Security Agencies.
Certis Cisco is one of Singapore's biggest employers of security officers and hires more than 5,000 unarmed security officers.
A spokesman told The New Paper yesterday that attracting the right talent to join the industry is a practical approach, but this will "inevitably push up the costs".
A spokesman for Aetos, which is part of the STC committee, said one of the major challenges will be convincing security service buyers that the increase is necessary.
"Based on our upcoming projects, we have an immediate need to increase our security manpower by 10 per cent over the next six months," added the spokesman.
Chairman of the STC, Mr Zainal Sapari, echoed Mr Wiener's sentiment that one way for security service buyers to cut costs is to turn to cutting-edge methods, such as the use of motion sensors, video analytics and shared data.
According to Mr Hareenderpal Singh, president of the Union of Security Employees, the problem of excessive overtime has led to security officers not having "much of a life", which he said is a reason people leave the industry or do not want to join it.
Another problem plaguing security officers is the doubling on roles outside of their responsibility.
This was an insight that members of STC shared during the media briefing yesterday.
Mr Weiner said: "Seventy per cent of the guards working today, they do things they probably should not be doing in addition to their standard operating procedures."
Mr Zainal, who is also the assistant secretary-general at the National Trades Union Congress, said: "Currently, some of the security officers are asked to be lifeguards, station at the swimming pool, be technicians, buy supper and many things.
"We need to move away from this. If the security officers are really tasked with doing their role, we could actually reduce the demand of security officers."