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Don't force security guards into signing unfair contracts, attorney urges

Security companies are being warned not to force guards to sign new contracts that would result in them giving up benefits previously accrued.

Some guards have been complaining about being forced to sign new contracts ahead of the April 1 deadline for them to be recognised as employees and not contract workers.

A video circulating on social media showed guards employed to one security company challenging members of the management team on the new one-year contracts.

Robert Moore, an attorney who specialises in employment and labour law, said on Tuesday that security companies should be mindful of their actions when dealing with guards.

Mr Moore, speaking on Radio Jamaica's Beyond the Headlines, urged that there be proper discussions with the guards: "I don't think that coercing the guards or making any threatening statements... I think the approach should be 'Let us have a discussion; let us clarify what has happened and let us agree to come to some compromise..."

Gillian Corrodus, Divisional Director of Industrial Relations and Allied Services in the Ministry of Labour & Social Security, who also appeared on Beyond the Headlines, said the Ministry is aware of the contracts being offered to security guards by the respective companies. 

She emphasised however that no contract presented to the guards can overrule the relevant provisions in the labour laws.

Ms Corrodus said, even if a new contract is signed, the guards are entitled to benefits such as vacation leave, which they would have earned prior to signing the new contract.