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Sunday, Sep 22, 2019

Short staffed, PU security guards work overtime under duress

Of the 441 sanctioned positions, around 120 are vacant

cities Updated: Sep 13, 2019 01:05 IST
Arshdeep Arshi
Arshdeep Arshi
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh

Due to acute shortage of security staff, few Panjab University (PU) guards are able to avail the four weekly offs that they are entitled to in a month. Most guards are only able to take one day off a month, two at most.

Of the 441 sanctioned positions, around 120 are vacant. The university has not been able to fill the vacancies due to the ongoing ban on recruitment. PU has been writing to the University Grants Commission, seeking permission to recommence recruitment.

A security guard, on the condition of anonymity, said, “Over the last two months, I was only able to take two days off. All other days are counted as overtime, for which we are paid ₹30 per hour, which amounts to ₹240 a day.”

“However, from this paltry amount too, authorities deduct money for the half-an-hour given for taking meals and pay ₹15 for the same. Therefore, we receive ₹225 a day for overtime,” he added.

PU ex-serviceman security guard employee union president Prem Singh said, “We had raised the matter before the senate in April. Rather than hearing us out, the authorities initiated action against the office bearers of our union.”

“Nobody gives a second thought to security guards. They too have to give time to their families. For the past seven to eight years, guards are being paid ₹30 per hour for overtime. Who work for ₹30 an hour in these times?” he asked, adding that other university employees are able to get five days off in a month. Another security guard, a daily wager, says though authorities pay only ₹30 per hour for overtime, if guards take leave, almost double the amount is deducted from their salary.

Only 78 guards are regular employees of the university, others are either daily wagers or work on a contract basis.

Chief of university security (CUS), Ashwani Koul said, “Due to shortage of staff, guards have to work overtime for four to six hours a week. I am aware of the situation. We are in the process of getting more guards so that the issue is resolved.”

First Published: Sep 13, 2019 01:05 IST