Security firm accused of not paying overtime, deducted contributions to NIS

The content originally appeared on: INews Guyana

Security officers attached to the New Amsterdam branch of Sentinel Security Inc are alleging that their National Insurance Scheme (NIS) contributions are being deducted from their salaries but are not paid over to the Scheme.

In addition, some of the officers are forced to work extra hours and are not paid overtime but on the other hand, several days’ pay is deducted from their salary if they report sick for one day.

Some of the officers who begged to remain anonymous told this publication that they have made several reports to the regional office of the Ministry of Labour in New Amsterdam but they are penalised for doing so.

“Just after you leave the Labour Office, you getting a call from the office; they want you to come in and is all sorts of things they accusing you of. One of my friends even get dismissed because she went to Labour,” one officer told this publication.

Some of them provided copies of documents from NIS which indicate that no contributions had been paid to the Scheme for the period they claimed to have been working with the security firm.

One of them is Stefan Williams, who worked with Sentinel Inc for just over two years.The last time contributions were paid on his behalf was in 2021, when 17 contributions were made. Williams had no fear in disclosing his identity since he resigned from the firm back in December. This will ultimately affect the workers from receiving benefits when the time comes.

He said he was also being punished for resigning and has not been paid for the days he worked in December. Williams related that he was told that he will have to go to Georgetown to get his money.

Williams worked as an armed guard and said he was not paid for extra duties.“I resigned because they are not paying the NIS, they cutting your salary every month – she take out four days from my salary because I stay home two days. They have me working 12 hours as an arms guard with no precept.”

Williams said that he was on roll to work 12-hour shifts.

“But I have to go to work for 4 o’clock to do escort from Gafoors under the Bridge (Canje Bridge) straight to the Corentyne and I coming off of work till 7 o’clock the next day,” he explained while noting that he was not paid for the extra time he was working.

“They don’t want to raise 12-hour salary.”Working a 12-hour shift as an armed guard, Williams said he was paid $38,000 fortnightly. However, in November he was paid $27,446 – the difference being punishment for being absent two days.

This is not the first time that workers attached to the security firm have made allegations.Despite claims by Labour Minister Joseph Hamilton that he would ensure security firms pay their workers in a timely manner and they are treated fairly, workers at Sentinel Security Inc related that the situation never changed.

Meanwhile, the National Insurance Scheme has been taking persons to court for non-compliance which includes not deducting NIS contributions from workers. They are also taken to court for not paying deducted contributions over to the Scheme.

In an effort to get a response from the office, this publication was directed to the head office on Lamaha Street, Georgetown. Telephone calls to that office were not successful.

Even a personal visit to the office was not successful but the elderly security officer at the gate collected a number which he claimed will be passed on to the manager. Days have elapsed and this publication is yet to receive a call from the security firm.