“You want to know how much I earn?” asked a security guard employed in the posh building where the Spanish national was raped in Bandra on Monday.
Though the guard, who is from RPS Security, refused to reveal his name, he didn't mind disclosing that he is paid Rs4,000 a month for 12-hour shifts.
Security guards employed by cooperative housing societies in the city are denied minimum wages and other benefits, which they are entitled to.
Amar Sukhi, who runs the SPS, a security agency that employs 7,000 guards, said: “The society pays zero attention to security until a tragedy strikes."
Referring to the Bandra rape case, Sukhi said people have no right to ask the guard to stay awake when he is not paid the minimum wage or get any benefits entitled to him legally.
“Almost 90% of guards are underpaid. Last year's government notification stated that a guard should get Rs7,434 a month, including special allowance, DA/HRA, conveyance,” said Uday Bhatt, president, Maharashtra Suraksha Rakshak Agadi.
“I should make Rs10,000 a month for eight-hour shifts, but I earn only Rs6,000 for 12-hour shifts, with no health benefits,” lamented a guard at a society.
Security Association of India president Gurcharan Singh, explained, “In Mumbai, 98% of the guards hail from rural areas. They are not qualified or educated... Even the agencies that employ them don't bother to train them. Moreover, 70,000 to 1 lakh guards – around 20% — are employed in societies, where they are...more like helpers who fetch milk and wash cars for the residents.”