Security firm paying less than the minimum wage

Dear Editor,

I refer to Mr Mohamed Akeel’s letter in the Stabroek News of September 20, 2013 ‘It seems as if total confusion surrounds the National Minimum Wage Order’ which suggests that the matter may not be entirely and satisfactorily resolved. I do not wish to add to that debate and have raised through the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and other channels questions concerning what I consider a highly commendable piece of legislation. I believe that the government should take those concerns into account and forestall any action that could, in any way, affect the operationalization of the Order.

My concern is perhaps less to do with the debate than with the vulgar violation of the Order by at least one Georgetown company which provides security services to a location of an arm of the state. I have a payslip for an employee of the very firm which pays this employee the rate of $120.00 per hour, when the minimum wage is $202.00 per hour. This employer is not only guilty of an offence under the National Minimum Wage Order but is cheating the particular employee of more than $5,000 per week.

Since the employer has scores of employees the fine of $35,000 imposed by the Order for a first time offence is paltry – he recovers this in one week from seven employees unless each incident is treated as a separate offence. In any case the fine is absurdly low for such theft from an employee. Can you imagine what would be the consequences if the employee stole $5,000 not every week, but just once from the employer?

The Managing Director of this company compounds the criminality by having threatened the employee that if he dare go to the authorities he would be fired forthwith. Subject to that I am willing to share this information with the relevant authorities.

Yours faithfully,
Christopher Ram

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