Reports from Security Guards in Gurgaon, one of them employed by G4S, formerly known as Group4. The worker reports about the massive and open money swindle the company undertakes. Another guard reports why he had to work 48 hours without a break.
Workers’ life time, energy and acceptance to risk physical damage is a cheap commodity. There is a night security guard in front of each upper-middle-class house of Gurgaon areas like Sushant Lok and the lifetime wage of the guard will amount to less than the price for the wooden entry door and front widows. There are two guards in most of the stores of the shopping malls. With the rise of a middle-class which has less modesty when it comes to the display of their wealth, the security business becomes a big one. The major global players are in India, too. While Group4 runs private prisons in the UK or supplements the Israeli army, in India their employees secure factories, call centres and other buildings from ordinary people. In Gurgaon the union AITUC managed to get their foot in and organise a number of workers, but this is an exception given that most guards belong to smaller companies or are employed on a personal level.
For example Subod works as a night-guard for a tower-bloc of middle-class apartments in South City Gurgaon, he has to sit and watch, open the gate for cars, ask visitors who they want to visit. He is from Bihar, and visits his village and family twice a year. He used to work as a casual worker at Maruti, but he was kicked out. He also worked in factories in Faridabad, but he stopped due to the health hazards and stress level. For the past six months he has worked twelve hour night-shift without a day off. Working 84-hours per week he gets 2,000 Rs per month. He has no proper work contract. When the guy from the day-shift fell ill, the housing association did not get someone to jump in, so Subod had to work the day-shift as well. He is afraid of losing his job, so he would not accept the help of a friend who offered to do six hours of his night-shift. He worked 48 hours on stretch. The situation at the world’s biggest security company is hardly better:
G4S - Group4 Worker
FMS no.218, August 2006
Security Guard: The company name used to be Group4, then it changed to Falck and now it is G4S. The company’s headquarters for India is in Panchvati, Gurgaon. The company employs about 90,000 security guards all over India. Group4 alias G4S openly misappropriates the provident funds of the workers. The company used to base the ESI and PF payment only on the basic wage. Currently the ESI (health insurance) payment takes the DA (inflation compensation) into account but the PF (pension fund) is still only applied to the low basic wage. The basic wage of a guard is 1,200 Rs and it is only this which PF is applied to - this practice is done to 90,000 guards every month and this is also shown in the documents.
As with other companies, there are things which are not shown in the documents and which are an even bigger scam. Each month a security guard makes 100-240 hours overtime, but the company does not show this in the documents. The overtime payment is at single rate. A guard works every day, 30 days per month. Together with the 30 days of normal attendance there should be overtime shown for 30 days in the books, as well.
The G4S company gives two pay slips. One pay slip shows 26 working days of eight hours each and the according wage of 2,447 Rupees. On this payslip it shows that the ESI contribution is cut from the 2,447 Rupees and the PF from the 1,200 Rs basic wage. On the second pay slip the overtime payment is documented, but it is shown sometimes as travelled kilometers, sometimes as conveyance or for something else - but never as overtime. The amount on the second pay slip is supposed to be paid fully, but money is cut; according to the document it is cut in the name of ESI. As by law the guards make 40 crore Rupees worth of overtime, but G4S company and management swindle 20 crore Rs from the guards every month. The company officer also forces the guards to work 36 hours continuously and they are not even given money for food during this time. The company talked about giving two uniforms per year, but the management gives only one.