Treasurer Nigel Clarke (left) greets Guardsman Limited Supervisor Sophia Matthews as colleagues Andre Turner (second from left) and Doric Jones watch. Clark announced changes to the employment status of government-employed security guards at a press conference held Thursday at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in downtown Kingston.(Photo: Garfield Robinson)
The government is making moves to amend more than 500 contracts to upgrade the status of security guards to employees — employed through security firms to provide services in ministries, departments and agencies — Contractors in light of last September’s Supreme Court ruling establishing security guards as employees rather than private
The contract amendment will take effect on April 1, 2023.
Treasurer Dr Nigel Clark made the announcement Thursday afternoon at a press conference held at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in downtown Kingston, saying a task force would be appointed to engage security firms in the next 100 days. We have a contract with the Jamaican government.
The engagement, he said, is aimed at amending all of these contracts in a way that ensures that security guards serving the government are treated as employees. , we plan to negotiate with the many security companies that are the counterparties to these over 500 security guard contracts and adjust the necessary fees.
The Treasurer noted that the amendments are not limited to fees alone, but also include conditions of employment with clear requirements that security guards be recognized, treated and rewarded as employees in accordance with Jamaican law.
“A breach of these terms with respect to a security guard working for a ministry, department or agency is grounds for termination of that contract. It means you must have an orderly process to change them; ,” Clark said.
“We are asking all procuring agencies, all ministries, departments and agencies, if they are looking to procure security guard services in the future, the tender documents state that anyone wishing to provide the services, the Jamaican government will: Security guards must be placed as employees and they must benefit from all the rights and privileges of employees,” the finance minister added.
“Those who submit bids that do not meet that requirement will be excluded, even if those bids are the lowest prices,” he added.
In the meantime, he encouraged private sector companies to follow the government’s lead and voluntarily renegotiate their contracts with security firms in ways that support this progress.
“At some point, enough time has passed for private companies to make adjustments that want the services of security guards but have not amended or entered into contracts that allow security guards to benefit as employees. In my view, they should: be named and humiliated,” the finance minister warned on Thursday.
Meanwhile, he urged the guard’s employers to act hastily and contact the heads of the Ministry of Labor and various unions to work together to establish a joint industry council for the department.
“Today is a good day for security guards working in the public sector. I would like to take this opportunity to remind all businesses, private companies and users of private security guard services that the Government of Jamaica is committed to doing so today. Let’s have a meaningful discussion and find a path to acceptance,” said Dr. Clark.
The Task Force is led by former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Jamaica Livingston Morrison and is made up of civil servants from various ministries, departments and agencies.
In a Supreme Court ruling regarding the National Housing Trust and Marksman Limited issued on Friday, September 23, the court ruled that third-party security guards employed by Marksman Security Limited were employees and not independent contractors. , the company will immediately begin paying 3% of the statutory contribution to the National Housing Trust.
Marksman said charges/fees to its clients would increase following the ruling. Shortly after the Jamaica Industrial Security Association said the ruling had thrown the industry into turmoil, Marksman Limited and other private security firms The company has gained full knowledge of the Jamaican government for over 35 years and ensures that the security guards they employ are independent contractors or self-employed.