Trade unions in the private security sector in South Africa allege that employers continue to swindle workers. They claim that in the last 10 months, more than R75 million has been “fraudulently deducted from salaries”.
This was revealed by trade unions, including the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa), Kungwini Amalgamated Workers Union (Kawu), Abanqobi Workers Union (AWU) as well as the SA Transport and Allied Workers Union (Satawu), during a media briefing in Sandton on Wednesday.
According to the unions, although security companies, including those controlled by the government, dock their employee’s salaries every month for benefits, such as medical aid, workers are unable to access healthcare and other perks as these are not paid over to the service providers.
At least 30 000 private security guards have been affected, said the unions.
Satawu’s national coordinator for the security sector Philemon Bhembe said:
In March 2021, the National Bargaining Council for the Private Security Sector (NBCPSS) approved a health insurance benefits scheme for the sector following the signing of a collective bargaining agreement with employers and unions.
The NBCPSS is registered in terms of the Labour Relations Act and cites its primary aim and purpose is “to regulate, maintain and enforce the terms and conditions as set out in the main collective agreement. According to the agreement, registered trade unions and employer organisations represent employees falling within the scope of the security sector”.
The agreement stipulated that the scheme was to be administered by Affinity Health and workers were to pay a compulsory R250 monthly insurance, half of which was deducted from salaries.
The benefits include chronic disease management and medication, doctor consultations and hospital and casualty benefits, including an HIV and TB management programme.
Bhembe added that instead of deductions made from the salaries of employees reaching the designated service provider – Affinity Health – they “ended up in the pockets of non-compliant companies”.
Likewise, some of these monies are channelled to unscrupulous service providers for inferior benefits. This has prompted unions to embark on several marches across all nine provinces over five months, with the first march set to take place on February 14, said Numsa’s national coordinator for the security sector, Frederick Mabasa. “We are appealing to our colleagues in the industry to please identify those particular companies so we can be able to roll out this particular campaign,” he said.