Lockdown hits security guards in Gurgaon, placement agencies say strapped for cash

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Written by Sakshi Dayal | Gurgaon | Updated: June 22, 2020 2:28:10 am

Gurgaon security guard, india lockdown, lockdown effect, security guard income, indian express Security agencies across Gurgaon are trying to manage whatever payments we can to minimise their staff’s problems, they said. (Express Photo: Abhinav Saha/Representational)

For the last eight years, Prem Kumar (35) had been working as a security guard at a commercial complex in Gurgaon. In the aftermath of the lockdown due to the Covid-19 outbreak, he has been reduced to switching professions and taking up employment as a labourer for a living.

“I went through a very difficult time during the lockdown. I was desperate and the security company I worked for was neither calling me to work nor paying me any salary. In April, I was at a point where I was not eating food for two-three days at a time,” said Kumar, whose wife and two children reside with his parents in his native Bihar.

“When the lockdown was relaxed, I left the company I was working for and started taking up labour work through a contractor. The pay is half of what it used to be, and the job is not stable, but at least I am filling my stomach today,” he said, adding that the complex he worked at earlier is yet to re-open its doors.

Security agencies across Gurgaon further corroborate Kumar’s claims, stating that with malls and schools still closed and offices and industries operating with lesser strength, they are not receiving payments from their clients, due to which they, in turn, are facing issues paying their staff.

“Most of our clients have not been paying us since the lockdown. We are trying to manage whatever payments we can to minimise our staff’s problems. We are giving them at last 50% of their salary,” said an official at Secura, a security company that deploys over 50 personnel at offices and industries across the city.

At Denetim Services also, which has “10-15 personnel” deployed at shopping centres and malls in Gurgaon, staff has been getting only part of their payment. “Nobody is keeping security, so why will they make payments. We are paying our staff to whatever extent we can manage. We are unable to pay them for the whole month but are trying to give enough so they can manage day to day expenses,” said Anubhav Khiwani, founder of Denetim Services.

Officials at SDS Security, which has over 3,000 personnel deployed in offices, malls and industries in Gurgaon, say the demand for personnel has reduced by 40%. “We had to ask a lot of staff to go on unpaid leave. We have made whatever payments were owed to people and have kept them on the job. We will reach out to them once work resumes again,” said Sushil Kumar, branch head of SDS Security, adding that a lot of their staff has also returned to their villages. This latter fact has also emerged as a dominant trend in condominiums in Gurgaon, several of which are functioning with “25-30 %” lesser staff than usual because many have returned home post-lockdown.

At Nirvana Country, for example, members of the RWA said “25-30 %” of their staff has returned home over the last month, with no time frame having been given as to their return. “We are around 30% short of staff, which, as far as I know, has returned home…We are managing by redefining our internal needs to ensure we are able to cope with the number of people available. We have 10 gates leading to our society, but are only allowing visitor entry from 4, which cuts down the staff required at these,” said Rohit Chopra, General Secretary of the Nirvana Country RWA. Princeton Estate is operating with “70-80 %” of its usual staff. “We had signed an agreement with our facility management service to provide us 50% of the staff at any point in time. This is now their responsibility,” said Arati Pandya, Acting Secretary of the Princeton Estate RWA.

A security guard employed at a condominium in Gurgaon, who did not want to be named, said, “I worked all through the lockdown. We used to stay inside the society itself and do our duties so there was no chance of infection entering the premises.”

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