Private security firms ordered to stop monthly remittances to COTU

Private Security Regulatory Authority Director General Fazul Mahamed.

The Private Security Regulatory Authority (PSRA) has ordered all security firms to immediately stop remitting union contributions to the Central Organization of Trade Unions (COTU).

In a letter dated April 15, PSRA Director General Fazul Mahamed said for years, private security have consistently deducted trade union fees from the private security guards and subsequently remitted the said contributions to COTU.

Private security guards are represented by Kenya National Private Security Workers Union.

Mohamed added that private security officers constitute a large percentage of the COTU members and despite their low salaries, they have faithfully contributed to COTU for decades.

Fazul further said the umbrella body of trade unions has not been actively representing the private security officers’ voices and has also failed to fight for their social and economic welfare as stipulated in the COTU’s constitute document.

“Regrettably, notwithstanding their significant financial contributions, COTU has not lived up to its mandate and has persistently disregarded, declined and/or neglected to advocate for their rights, advocate for compliance with minimum wage and promote their general welfare,” said Mohamed.

The Director General revealed that the regulatory authority has instituted an investigation on the collection and use of all finances that have been deducted and remitted to COTU by private security companies.

The regulatory authority is doing so in order to protect the welfare and rights of over 1.3 million private security guards, due to the provisions of the law and numerous complaints from private security officers.


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According to Mohamed, preliminary investigation by the Authority has confirmed that indeed private security officers have made significant contributions to COTU in form of monthly trade union fees estimated to figures in billions of shillings.

“Pending conclusion of the investigation, all private security companies are hereby directed to effective  immediately stop deducting and remitting private security officers’ trade union fees to the COTU,” the letter reads in part.

Mohamed said the order shall remain in force until such a time the Authority expressly directs otherwise, issuing a warning that any firm going against the directive their registration and licensing shall be reviewed.

“Any private security company that continues to deduct and remit the said fees to the COTU shall be subjected to a statutory review of its registration and licensing status,” he warned.

PSRA is a government agency established under section 7 of the Private Security Regulation act No.13 of 2016 charged with the responsibility of regulating the Private Security sector in accordance with the act and the values and principles set out in the constitution.

Section 9 (k) of the Act, mandates the Authority to promote the protection and enforcement of the rights and welfare of the private security officers (security guards).

In the last few months, PSRA and COTU have not been reading from the same script with the latter accusing the Authority of being the greatest impediment to the enhancement of the rights and welfare of private security guards.

On March 31, PSRA launched a scathing critique against COTU for allegedly failing to advocate for the welfare of private security guards, the claims that umbrella body of trade union refuted, instead, they highlighted the measures taken to safeguard their interests.

A fortnight ago, the authority said it would direct private security officers not to contribute finances to COTU until the union starts advocating for the rights, payment of minimum wage, and improved welfare of the guards.

By Brian Ndigo

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