Complaining of harsh working and living conditions, low pay and long hours, many security guards here fail to return to Qatar after going on their biennial leave, Gulf Times reports.
Many appear to be counting down the two years it takes to be sent home on holiday, states the report, which involved interviews with several security guards, retailers and hiring companies and follows a story from yesterday about the ill treatment of hundreds of such employees by a large company.
Because guards spend most of the day standing and often work outdoors, conditions are especially torturous for them in the summer months, guards told the newspaper:
“Some residents are under the impression that security personnel are better paid compared to construction workers, which is not true. In fact, our condition is worse than that of construction labourers,” said a Sri Lankan expatriate who works as a security guard at a highrise in the vicinity of City Center Doha.
He said while the workers of many construction companies were given packed food during duty hours, most security personnel had to fend for themselves. Only a few of them were lucky enough to get food free of cost at their workplace.
Some security workers told this newspaper that the place where they lived in Industrial Area had barely 25 washrooms for more than 1,500 people.
Despite the poor conditions, there appears to be a steady stream of men from poor countries who are willing to replace those who never come back, one manager at a security company told the newspaper.
Tackling the plight of security guards would involve the same sorts of solutions that are being sought for construction workers: stepped-up inspections of work and accommodation sites, stricter enforcement of the laws and educating employees on their rights and who to talk to when they are in trouble, the report states.
Credit: Photo for illustrative purposes only by Kyle McDonald