Abbey Petkar, the managing director of security guarding solutions provider Magenta Security, is advising businesses of all shapes and sizes that they might unwittingly be supporting modern day slavery through their use of low-cost security providers.
The Magenta Security team has recently lost tenders against low-cost security providers that charge workers out at less than £10 per hour, which Magenta believes is a commercially unsustainable position. When legally required taxes, pensions and other statutory requirements (such as holidays) are added to the National Minimum Wage, it’s then impossible to charge such low rates, yet some continue to do so.
By hiring these low-cost security providers, businesses are often unwittingly going against their own Corporate Social Responsibility and anti-slavery policies, while at the same time allowing “criminal” levels of pay to continue.
Magenta is strongly advising business owners and directors alike to pay special attention to workers’ pay and check their own systems and processes thoroughly to ensure they’re not part of the problem by condoning this practice.
“There are any number of perfectly innocent reasons why this is happening, and people might genuinely be receiving a good deal,” commented Petkar. “Perhaps workers on the ground making decisions have seen a good price and not considered the consequences. Perhaps the security firm is providing officers as a loss leader for other services. However, in most cases low-cost traders are at fault, abusing their workforce, paying below the National Minimum Wage and getting away with it because the officers are desperate for work.”
In conversation with Security Matters, Petkar concluded: “Owners, directors and managers of companies need to be made aware of what’s going on within their businesses and they need to react accordingly. While the actual criminal behaviour in this scenario might lie at the door of the security provider, I think we can all agree that it’s morally criminal for organisations to knowingly use cheap solution providers who, in turn, violate the basic rights of their workers and are therefore complicit in modern day slavery.”