UNI Global Union demands official probe into causes of Prosegur security guard deaths
UNI Global Union is calling for an official probe into the death of Rafael Pardo Triviño, a Prosegur security guard, who was killed on the job on 31 July 2015, in the city of San Antonio in Chile. UNI is asking for a full enquiry into the circumstances surrounding Mr Pardo’s death and what more the company could have done to prevent it and similar deadly attacks.
UNI says the number of attacks and avoidable deaths of Prosegur staff in Chile is unacceptable. According to Prosegur’s 2014 Annual Report, 18 company employees were killed at work during that year.
UNI Global Union’s Head of Property Services, Alice Dale said, “Security work, and particularly the transportation of valuables is inherently dangerous work. That is a given. What is unacceptable is for a leading industry multinational company to continually refuse to implement safety procedures that are available, used within the industry and even their own company in other parts of the world, needlessly risking the lives of their employees in South America.”
Prosegur workers in Chile say the company is not doing enough to properly protect them. In a show of strength unionised workers from Prosegur in Santiago de Chile drove 80 Prosegur armoured vehicles belonging to the company to La Moneda, the Presidential Palace in Chile where they presented a letter to the country’s President Michelle Bachelet. The letter complains about the constant catalogue of assaults and violence against workers employed by the giant Spanish security company, Prosegur.
In their letter to President Bachelet the union wrote, “Workers are always blamed for these assaults due to noncompliance with security protocols, generating a wave of criticism against workers by society in general. Those that are least responsible are the workers who are victims of this criminality, on the one hand, and on the other are the cash-in-transit companies, who ignore improvements required by authorities.” The union asked for a tripartite panel to be set up that, would include the government, security companies and the union to discuss ways to make these jobs safer.
In the case of Mr Pardo, UNI has learnt that he was the victim of an armed robbery which began with a staged road accident. The driver of the armoured van was forced to open the door of the vehicle to exchange documents following the accident because a slot through which information could have been safely exchanged had been soldered shut. Once the door to the armoured van was open, approximately nine assailants appeared and forced the driver and Mr Pardo from the armoured van where they were handcuffed together on the ground. The assailants then fatally shot Mr Pardo in the leg as he lay on the ground, to intimidate the two remaining security guards inside the armoured vehicle.
The union representing the security guards has blamed Prosegur for requiring the workers to pick-up approximately US$1,000,000 from the San Antonio branch of Banco de Chile, and continue making stops in the town for approximately seven hours. By leaving the armoured vehicle on the road for this period of time, rather than taking the large amount of money directly back to the company’s Santiago base, the union alleges that workers were vulnerable to attack and thieves were given ample time to prepare their assault. The union has been outspoken in the past about disagreeing with this cost-cutting approach that jeopardizes the safety of guards and the financial interests of clients.
UNI will work with our affiliates to produce a report on the deaths of workers such as Mr Pardo and other serious assaults that they can use in working with the tripartite panel in Chile, that we strongly encourage President Bachelet to appoint, with specific recommendations on how the number of avoidable deaths can be significantly reduced.