Shake-up for security companies

The possibility of reforming the way over 1,200 private security firms in Greece are run is being examined by the Public Order Ministry, sources said yesterday, after complaints from workers about their treatment. A panel is being formed by the ministry, consisting of legal experts, representatives from the companies and employee spokesmen to draw up a bill which will incorporate tougher checks and penalties for the security firms and the regulation of staff training. Some 35,000 people are employed in this sector in Greece but there is no formal process to train staff. The government has proposed changing this by either issuing licenses for vocational training schools specializing in the field to be set up or for the police to take on the responsibility for training security guards in return for payment from the firms. Regulating the industry would also make financial sense for the government, as some 12,000 workers in the sector are not currently registered with the social security system, meaning that the main fund IKA is missing out on some 80 million euros in contributions each year.