Private security guards issue strike notice

Private guards workers union wants rights respected, says they cannot live on meagre salaries

In Summary

• Union says their overtime pay is ignored.

• They also want a clear pay line drawn between day and night guards. 

Security guards during a past event in Nairobi.
WE DESERVE BETTER: Security guards during a past event in Nairobi.
Image: FILE

The Kenya National Private Workers Union has issued a 21-day strike notice to their employers to review their salaries.

They wanted higher pay in general and an increment for working nights, which are more dangerous.

The guards also demand overtime pay.

They have also warned employers against infringing on the rights of private security officers and disobeying the law.

They complained about the housing allowance of Sh1,500, which they said cannot match the current market rate especially in urban areas like Nairobi. The housing allowance is 15 per cent of their basic pay.

The Kenya National Security Workers Union secretary general Issac Andabwa on Friday said the majority of the security companies do not pay as required by the law.

“The government and courts are doing nothing about it and we are just hearing about corruption left, right and centre. Workers are concerned over the impunity in this country,” he told the press in Nairobi.

Andabwa said private security officers are underpaid and their overtime payments are ignored.

They want night guards to get a differential since their work is more dangerous.

Andabwa said some private security guards are paid a minimum of Sh8,000 per month.

The minimum wage for a guard for cities of Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu is Sh14,000 for day guards and Sh15,000 for night guards, he said 

“There is no house in Kenya that goes for rent as little as the housing allowance given to them. Even the informal settlements go for about Sh6,000,” Andabwa said.

The guards appealed to the Labour ministry to come up with the minimum wage based on thorough research.

“We are calling on the Labour CS as well as Kenya Private Security Regulations Authority led by Fazul Mohammed to look into these matters,” he said.

On May 6, a new Collective Bargaining Agreement was signed in which at least 1,000 KK security guards will begin earning a minimum of Sh45,000 per month.

However, those benefiting from the CBA were guards working with the US Embassy in Nairobi.

Andabwa said the rest of the guards could not be included in the deal because they have different terms of employment, depending on clients and region where they are based.

He said his union is determined to fight for better terms and conditions of work for their members.

Meanwhile, the guards want the Inspector General of Police to establish counselling and trauma centres following cases of killings and suicides within the service.

“The IG should ensure the welfare of police is looked into through counselling to reduce such cases,” Andabwa said.

KNPSWU is a registered trade union under the Ministry of Labour with the sole mandate of representing employees in the private security sector in Kenya.

Kenya has at least 10,000 guards.

(Edited by R.Wamochie)