Illegal agencies rob desperate job seekers

When Tinevimbo Shumba (not her real name) 26, from Chitungwiza visited an employment agency last year to register as a till operator trainee, she was immediately suspicious.

Desperate job seekers
Desperate job seekers

The training had started earlier that week, but when she arrived she was given first preference – regardless of the fact that she had not attended any of previous lessons. There were only three people in what seemed to be the classroom.

Shumba was told that for a fee of $20, she would be sent to a lodge in Seke where there was a vacancy for a waitress.

“I was asked to pay right away so that they could refer me,” she said. “It was too sudden. I couldn’t believe it. I just thought these people must be desperate for money.” There were clients in that classroom who had already paid their registration fee – but had not been given any opportunities. And the fee was non -refundable.

Shumba was yet another victim of illegal business practices. Despite frequent media reports, many people are being cheated illegal employment agencies.

New entrepreneurs are emerging daily, exploiting the economic challenges that make many people desperate, and lining their own pockets at the expense of the vulnerable.

Registered employment agencies are also suffering. They face stiff competition from the illegal players – who seem to benefit more than they do.

With unemployment hovering around 95% , according to Zimstats, people have no choice but to approach the illegal agencies. Artwell Mareya, the director of Flatout Investments, a registered agency, said the Ministry of Labour should act against the unregistered agencies as they were doing a lot of harm.

He said the ministry should establish a bureau that can be used by media houses in the country to screen adverts from legitimate organizations and also the public to check out for Certificate of Registration of an Employment Agency before registering as a trainee.

“This bureau can be used to track down all unregistered companies under The Labour Relations (Agencies) Regulations,” Mareya added.

When this reporter investigated one of the agencies in town, pretending to be a potential client, the receptionist refused to produce a registration certificate. “What does that have to do with registration? If you want to train as a shop worker just pay,” she said. Mareya also advised the public that they should not be lured by the salaries promised by bogus agencies.

“The salaries for shop workers are far less than the ones that are used to lure people. They will never get that money.

When the economy was viable many organizations had their own training and recruitment departments, said Mareya. “But due to economic challenges, employment agencies have come to bridge the gap. But this does not mean that people should use it as an excuse to rob others.”

The Minister of Labour and Social Welfare, Paurina Mpariwa, said she had read several reports of people being ripped off by illegal agencies and advised people to be cautious when looking for jobs.

Post published in: News

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