“I have been working for 12 hours, from 7 pm to 7 am daily, as a private security guard. I work 30 days in a row without any days off. After 30 days I visit my wife in our village for 4 or 5 days. G4S India, [my] employer, does not give me a weekly off day or paid public holidays,” said Damor Chhanabhai Arjunbhai, age 23.
He works for G4S India, a private security firm, and is currently deployed at Motherson Automotive Technologies & Engineering (MATE) in Sanand, an industrial hub near the city of Ahmedabad in Gujarat. MATE is a division of Motherson Sumi Systems Ltd (MSSL), which supplies moulded parts, assemblies and modules to the Indian automotive industry.
Damor says, out of his “salary between 17,500 and 18,000 [Indian rupees] (US$ 236.80) a month”, he only receives between Rs 12,500 and 13,500. “The company cuts Rs 600 to 650 for rent, Rs 1,400 for food and Rs 950 [is] deducted as a [provident facility] deductible.” Provident facility is a governmental retirement saving facility. Other deductible expenses are electricity, potable water and tea provided by the company.
Damor shares a single room with three other guards. The building houses 150 G4S security guards in total. Every day he walks the 2.5 kilometres to the job site.
1. Room provided to security guards by G4S. Four guards stay in this room. (Ahmedabad, India, October 2019)
2. Damor Channabhai Arjunbhai stands in front of the housing provided by G4S India. (Ahmedabad, India, October 2019)
3. Toilet facilities inside the room Damor shares with three other guards. (Ahmedabad, India, October 2019)
Another G4S guard deployed at a company in Sanand said, his salary is Rs 10,000 per month, but he only receives Rs 8,000. Around Rs 2,000 is deducted for the Provident Fund facility and taking leave on Sundays. Global Ground Media does not share the name of the guard or the company of deployment here to protect the guard from retribution per his request.
G4S India is the Indian arm of G4S, a global security company that delivers security and related services to customers across more than 90 countries on six continents and employs 585,000 people according to their website.
G4S India, founded in 1989, has more than 135,000 employees at six hubs, with over 130 branches and area offices nationwide. It provides integrated security to private and government organisations across the country. Its client list features industrial companies, banks and universities.
In another example, a guard who worked at G4S for 18 years said he is still owed overtime pay. Atulkumar Parmar, age 50, had been working in Ahmedabad since 2000 amongst others at Ahmedabad University.
Parmar approached the Labour & Employment Department of Gujarat, stating he was rarely paid overtime over the previous 18 years amounting to in total Rs 381,000. Parmar initiated civil proceedings claiming payment of this amount. The case is pending in the Labour Court according to Parmar and the Labour & Employment Department of Gujarat.
Report by UNI Global Union
A 2007/2008 report titled The Inequality Underneath India’s Economic Boom: G4S Security Workers Fight for Their Rightful Place in a Growing Economy published by UNI Property Services, a sector of UNI Global Union, a Switzerland-based union with 20 million members from more than 150 countries, underlines that security workers for G4S India, one of the largest private-sector employers in India, are at the bottom of the income scale.
The report, based on interviews with security workers from three cities, Kolkata, Bangalore and Delhi, says that G4S India pays “poverty wages – not enough to raise a family.”
UNI Global Union also found that “G4S underpays workers’ overtime. The company does not pay the double rate required for the four hours of overtime put in by many workers. G4S workers often work six or seven days a week, twelve hours a day.”
Private security agencies in India operate under the Private Security Agencies (Regulation) Act 2005 (PSARA) including the Minimum Wages Act of 1948. This legislation lists what security agencies should do to ensure the interests of their employees.
The Minimum Wages Act of 1948 states that “[w]hen a worker works in an employment for more than nine hours on any day or for more than forty-eight hours in any week, he shall, in respect of such overtime work, be entitled to wages at double the “ordinary rate of wages”.minimum-wages-act-1948
In September 2019, Amit Shah, the home minister, asked private security companies to implement welfare schemes like a regular health check-up, accident insurance and a governmental-backed pension plan. According to Shah, India has nine million private security guards, compared to three million police and paramilitary forces.
Global Ground Media reached out to G4S India for comment. After repeated request for comment, G4S India did not respond to the questions raised. Instead G4S India demanded Global Ground Media to “cease and desist” the publication of this article: “Your intention to spread false, destructive, and defamatory narrative about G4S India has come as a shock to us and appears to be instigated by your ill-founded motivations.”
They additionally stated that “G4S India has built its reputation as a responsible, law abiding corporate citizen in India that respects and proudly complies with all laws including without limitation laws governing Private Security Agency, Provident Fund, Employee State Insurance, Minimum Wages, Bonus, Gratuity, Labour Welfare Fund and other social and labour welfare legislation. G4S India is an established and reputed organisation with transparent processes that are audited in India and worldwide. All guards working for G4S India are on its payroll and are credited the salary directly in their bank accounts.”
Article by Varsha Torgalkar and Anrike Visser.
Pictures by Varsha Torgalkar.
Editing by Mike Tatarski and Anrike Visser.
This article was developed with the support of The Bay & Paul Foundations (bayandpaulfoundations.org/).
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