GMB Warns Of Chaos As Part Of The Security Industry Fails To Meet Licensing Deadline
GMB calls for deadline for licensing 162,000 security workers to be extended to June 2006
GMB Commercial Services conference in Brightontoday warned that there would be a shortage of licensed security guards after the March 20th 2006 licensing deadline. The conference was told that many security companies have not yet licensed either their company or their guarding staff. After 20th March 2006anyone operating without a licence will be committing a criminal offence. GMB is calling on the government to extend the deadline for licensing the 162,000 security guards in Britain. Unless this is done GMB is concerned that thousands of security guards will lose their jobs. The number of security guards in the different parts of Britainis shown on pages 2/3 of this release.
The union has received calls from worried GMB security members in workplaces where guards are being laid off because their employers can’t find work for them after 20th March as they haven’t got their licenses yet. Members are reporting that their employers have been remiss in their training programmes, have failed to help their employees through the licensing process, and many of them expect the guards to pay the licence fee of £190 out of their own pockets.
GMB pressed for the licensing of the security industry for many years. Licensing is being introduced is to drive criminality out of the industry and to improve standards. It is an industry notorious for low pay, long hours and poor working conditions, and it resisted regulation for many years.
Gary Smith, GMB National Organiser for the security industry said, “The GMB is today calling upon the Government to take urgent action to extend the licensing deadline for those applications from the UK’s 162,000 security guards to the 30th June 2006. However the government should retain the deadline for directors and managers of 20th March 2006and disallow any company which has not co-operated with the Security Industry Authority’s licensing programme from Approved Contractor Status.
Although the major companies in the industry such as Group 4 Securicor and Securitas have worked with the SIA and got their licensing on schedule, many other companies have not. Now their failure to meet the deadlines is putting our members at risk of losing their jobs, or committing a criminal offence if they continue working after 20th March.”
Contact:GMB Press Office: Steve Pryle on 07921 289880 or Rose Conroy on 07974 251823. GMB Organisers and members available for interview and comment.
Notes to Editors:
1 The security industry has had since 2001 when the Security Act was passed to prepare itself, and the regulatory body, the Security Industry Authority (SIA), has been accepting licence applications since April 2005. To date, the SIA Inspectors have visited 52 companies to warn the directors of companies who it considered would not be in a position to supply their customers with enough licensed security staff after 20th March.
2 The industry committed to submitting an agreed number of applications each month from that date. But it failed to rise to the challenge. A flood of applications was submitted to the SIA during December and January and there are (according to SIA statistics taken from website on 20th February (check figures) applications now on the system.
3 Licensing is set on two criteria, a criminality check and a training qualification. There are serious delays in the training and examination process, and many people are still waiting to find out if they have passed the examination.
4 GMB signed a recognition agreement with G4S earlier this year to represent its static guards. GMB organises thousands of security guards who work across the private and public sectors in the UK. They guard retail areas, public areas, government buildings, banks and also highly sensitive public areas such as CanaryWharf. They protect public safety behind the scenes in CCTV rooms, and the cash in transit couriers make sure we have the money in the banks and ATM’s to have the cash in our pockets for our daily lives.
5 The delay has been compounded by the delay in introducing the Approved Contractor Scheme (ACS) – an accreditation granted by the SIA to companies which meet specified criteria. Companies with ACS status can deploy up to 15% of guards whose licenses are being processed. The scheme should have been introduced before Christmas, but the Parliamentary Under Secretary only announced the scheme to the House on 16th February. The scheme is now open, and the GMB is gravely concerned that the criteria have been “watered down” to allow companies to use their existing British Standards to gain passporting into the scheme.
Annual Business Inquiry - 2004 ONS Crown Copyright Reserved
Employees in employment in Investigation and security activities (SIC2003 746
|England and Wales||148,200|
|7||Yorkshire and The Humber||11,700|
|40||Westminster, City of||1,300|
|50||Hammersmith and Fulham||700|
|59||Barking and Dagenham||600|
|63||Kensington and Chelsea||500|
|66||City of London||400|
|75||Cornwalland Isles of Scilly||200|
|76||Herefordshire, County of||200|