Security guards demand Covid-19 allowances

Security guards are demanding Covid-19 allowances, as they face the hazardous job of enforcing Covid rules and sanitising people at various enterprises.

Ever since Covid-19 broke out, security guards were thrust into the forefront in the fight against the pandemic and tasked with ensuring that people adhered to Covid protocols.

Despite their vulnerability and susceptibility to Covid-19, the security industry does not receive Covid-19 allowances like other essential service providers.

Last year, the government introduced a non-taxable Covid-19 allowance of US$75 per month for civil servants.

“Nurses and doctors are given Covid-19 allowances but if you have observed guards are the ones who sanitise and make sure people who enter supermarkets are sanitised. But these guards don’t receive Covid-19 allowance,” said one security guard, Elias Mpofu at a meeting hosted by the Private Security Workers Union (PSWU) Monday.

“A guard interfaces with many people and even searches one’s belongings. Even at the border, you find guards there. We interact with many people before they even think of going to doctors or nurses but we are not given Covid-19 allowance. Why is that so?”

 President of PSWU, Gilbert Zhou, concurred that the lack of a Covid-19 allowance for the security sector was worrying, given their vulnerabilities.

“We also want the Covid-19 allowance because we also die as nurses and doctors including other civil servants who receive the allowance,” he said.

“Security guards sacrifice a lot, they are up earlier than most people by the time and by the time one goes to a certain premise somewhere in the morning, they find a guard already in place.”

Zhou said guards’ responsibilities such as searching people where they were close to them meant exposing them to contagious diseases.

“You have to be close to a person in order to search them. There is no machine that can search someone from afar. We touch people and their belongings, which makes us more vulnerable. We can accept or dislike the system but that’s our duty and at the same time that exposes us to diseases such as TB and Covid-19,” said the PSWU president.

“By not giving us a Covid-19 allowance, do employers think guards don’t die? It hurts that when a guard dies, the employers don’t even go and sympathise with their families or send a representative. If they send a representative, it’s to go collect the uniform at the funeral, the same uniform that would be worn by someone else yet the deceased would have had Covid-19. This is another spreader of diseases.”

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