SINGAPORE: With the Progressive Wage Model (PWM) for the security sector set to kick in on Sep 1 this year, both service buyers and providers will need a mindset change to ensure that the lives of security guards are improved, National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) Assistant Secretary-General Zainal Sapari said on Thursday (May 12).
In a post published on the Labour Movement's blog, LabourBeat, Mr Zainal said it is time for both service buyers and providers to explore new possibilities together.
"The sector and its stakeholders have to move away from a 'man-driven' approach to one that embraces effective machines and methods to deliver more productive services," he said.
Mr Zainal also brought up a model of aggregating services, where technological advancements can provide the option of deploying centralised supervision of properties without the need to employ "warm bodies" on site.
"These officers can instead be trained to take on other value-adding roles," said the NTUC Assistant Secretary-General. "Other developed countries have embraced such technological advancements and made it work, so why not us? The question is: 'Are industry stakeholders willing to put their hearts and minds to it?'"
SECURITY SECTOR'S "D-DAY"
Calling the Sep 1 date "the industry's D-Day", Mr Zainal questioned if the industry was ready for when the PWM is implemented.
"Based on preliminary estimates of security manpower requirements, while many of the security officers fulfill the prerequisite training requirement, there are still about 3,300 security supervisors who do not," he said.
He noted that information on the PWM has been "aggressively disseminated" to security agencies and officers since it was first introduced in 2014, but that has not been enough.
"Since the idea of PWM was mooted in 2014, no effort has been spared to ensure sufficient training capacity for security officers and supervisors to complete their necessary training courses and advance on both the career progression and wage ladder," said Mr Zainal. "However, according to the accredited training providers, the training capacity has not been fully utilised and many places are still available."
"On the ground, there has been feedback that many security supervisors are unwilling to attend skills upgrading courses despite their lack of the necessary skills qualifications to perform roles with greater responsibilities," he added. "Come Sep 1, 2016, these security supervisors will face serious risk of being placed in a lower rank."
UPSKILL OR FACE CONSEQUENCES
He said that to address the situation, Police Licensing and Regulatory Department (PLRD), under the Ministry of Home Affairs, has sent personalised letters to officers who need to fulfill the necessary training requirements to retain or upgrade their current positions after PWM comes into force.
He added that the PLRD and the Security Tripartite Cluster (STC) "will not hesitate to take actions against non-compliant security agencies" once the PWM comes into place.
Mr Zainal noted that there has been a huge increase in demand for more professional security services, and more effort has been put to "inject greater professionalism into the industry".
"Gone were the days where any Tom, Dick and Harry could be a 'jaga' guarding the entrance of a multi-million dollar building overnight, armed with a radio, straw mat and a flask of hot coffee," said Mr Zainal.