Private guards, invariably clad in blue uniforms, can be seen everywhere around us. Most guards in Pakistan are employed by one of the countries private security companies. But low wages, long hours, and, in many cases, no insurance, have left them highly vulnerable.
Sadly, the salaries of some companies are too low to satisfy their guards who sometimes perform duties for more than 12 hours a day. The pay of guards is between Rs7,000 and Rs9,000. Their common age is around 50. However, poverty forces them to do such a risky and underpaid job.
Generally, private guards are equipped with shotguns while rifles and pistols are also given to those working at sensitive places. There are currently thousands of workers in Pakistan’s security companies who are victims of exploitation, and injustice.
Like all other countries, Pakistan too has the minimum wage law. It requires that at least Rs17,500 be paid to every worker performing an eight-hour-long shift. Besides the minimum wage, a worker is also entitled to weekly holidays, the Employees’ Old-Age Benefits Institution (EOBI), social security, and overtime pay.
The violation is, however, most prominent when it comes to the lowest rung of the ladder, especially private security guards, who are hired on a contractual basis. While on paper, the contracts between these government organizations and contractors state the right amount, janitors and security guards are actually given around Rs12,000 per month or even below. In addition to this, they have no social security and no EOBI enrolment.
This guard who works at Quaid-e-Azam’s mausoleum is an example of the aforementioned injustice
This elderly guard working at the Quaid’s mausoleum does 12 hours of duty at a salary of Rs10,000. Whereas, the minimum wage set by the government for 8 hours is Rs18,000. How can the government not apply the minimum wage?
In the video, the guard tells that he works for Rehman Security Company, and gets a salary of Rs10,000 per month only. More so, salary is sometimes given on 15th or 20th. He works for complete 12 hours every day, from 7 am to 7 pm. There is no overtime, nothing. Even if you get ill and take off they cut off from salary. Sadly, there is no concept of the EOBI as well.
Are the center and Sindh governments sleeping? Does the authority not see the injustice, and inhumanity these guards are facing at the hands of private security companies? A 12-hour shift is no joke. In addition to this, with the inflation in the country at the moment, no man can survive with such an unfair amount of money.
Despite the government setting laws of the minimum wage, it is still not implemented. Besides this, these security guards are made to wear the polyester uniform and leather shoes in this scorching sun. Due to the heavy uniform, it causes skin allergies and whatnot. Security guards are just as human as us. The government should meticulously keep an eye on their exploitation and take an action!
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