‘Red herring’: S’pore security union rebukes association’s response to SGAG video
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‘Red herring’: S’pore security union rebukes association’s response to SGAG video

Security Association Singapore slams collab video between union & SGAG

Last Wednesday (24 April), the Union of Security Employees (USE) collaborated with SGAG for a comedic skit about the Progressive Wage model (PWM) for security workers.

About a week later on Thursday (2 Apr), Security Association Singapore (SAS) issued a lengthy statement criticising the portrayal of security workers and employers in the video.

In response, USE described the complaint as a “red herring”, stating that the main objective of the video was to encourage security officers to report cases of non-compliance regarding the PWM.

Security Association Singapore calls out video by SGAG for portrayal of officers & employers

The video, titled “POV: it’s your first day as a security officer” shows someone portrayed as a manager briefing two security officers on their daily duties.

Source: @sgagsg on Instagram

The manager’s conversation with them was comically abrasive, with the two officers posing absurd questions.

The skit ends with the manager stating that the officers can check their PWM on the NTUC USE app.

Security Association says video trivialised abuse of officers

In its statement on Thursday (2 May), SAS said they received “significant feedback and unhappiness” from its members regarding the SGAG video.

Source: Security Association Singapore on Facebook

The association said it objects to the portrayal of security officers as “buffoons” who were also shouted at. SAS said that this was abuse — an issue not to be trivialised or normalised.

The skit also used phrases like “employers tekan officers” which SAS did not approve of as it promoted an “adversarial relationship” between workers and employers.

“SAS’ view is that this video is not the correct way to convey such an important and serious message and in particular, does not agree with the generalisation that all employers had “tekan” officers”,” the association said.

“This is hardly in the spirit of tripartism. Most agencies are good employers that abide by the law. In fact, amidst the tomfoolery of the character, whatever message that was intended is lost.”

SAS also addressed the video mentioning that officers used to work 100 hours overtime, stating this was possible due to overtime exemptions (OTE) which the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) approved at the time.

MOM later abolished this, which SAS and employers supported.

USE calls complaint odd considering earlier collaboration

Responding to SAS, USE said they had collaborated with different content creators, applying a “light touch” that allowed the content to best appeal to their audiences.

Source: Union of Security Employees on Facebook

“This is our second collaboration with SGAG with the same actor portraying a security officer,” USE said

“We thus find the complaint about this second video odd, given that the SAS or its exco did not find fault with the first.”

The key issue of the video, they claimed, which was reporting non-compliance of the PWM, “struck a nerve” amongst the SAS exco.

USE also noted that OTE still exist and companies can apply for it with MOM.

However, the situation today is quite different from what it was before 2021. Back then, OTE was apparently the default due to manpower shortage.

Even though the manpower ministry had approved the OTE back then, suggesting that agencies were “merely hiring in accordance to the parameters provided by MOM” is “disingenuous”.

As for the current PWM, which mandates a minimum salary of S$2,650 per month for security officers, USE said they were aware of some agencies contracting officers to work the maximum permissible hours under PWM.

Officers who wanted to work less would have to apply for unpaid leave, causing them to receive less than the PWM rates.

“USE is glad that the partnership with SGAG has achieved the exact outcomes that we sought for,” USE said. “To raise awareness of the intent of the PWM, and for officers or agencies to report to us any instances of non-compliances.”

SAS says USE failed to acknowledge issues they raised

In a follow-up post, SAS acknowledged USE’s response but claimed it did not address the points it had raised in its previous post.

Source: Security Association Singapore on Facebook

“[USE] instead attempts to distract by going into other matters that are wholly unrelated to the SGAG video,” SAS said.

The organisation said that USE had failed to address whether the following was acceptable:

  • Belittling officers and the dignity of their jobs to make a point that could have come across in other ways
  • Portraying the abuse of security officers and showing them being brought to tears, thus trivialising such situations in the industry
  • Vilifying employers who themselves proposed high wage increments for their officers

As for USE’s first video collaboration with SGAG, SAS said it did not find it problematic as it did not demean, show abuse, or vilify employers.

“SAS has always stood by USE’s intervention with errant security agencies to protect our security officers, provided that these are in accordance with the law. We will continue to do so,” the organisation added.

“But the SGAG video has hurt officers and it has hurt employers. What is USE’s response to this?”

MS News has reached out to SGAG for a statement on the matter.

Also read: 80-Year-Old Security Officer Punched In Bedok After Telling Man Not To Sleep On Bench

80-Year-Old Security Officer Punched In Bedok After Telling Man Not To Sleep On Bench

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Featured image adapted from @sgagsg on Instagram.

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