Get rich quick companies rapped

Sprouting local security companies are responsible for the suffering of thousands of their employees who they are using to get rich quick, workers in the sector have alleged.

They told The Zimbabwean that the emerging companies were failing to pay workers in the private security sector despite reaping relatively big profits from the services provided to companies and individuals across the country.

Private Security Workers’ Union (PSWU) national organising secretary, Dennis Muzenda, said employees at the companies had fallen on hard times because of their bosses’ selfishness. “The private security sector has been negatively affected by the current economic problems like all other companies. The problem, though, is that the owners of small security companies are greedy.

“We are aware of many cases whereby they have managed to post huge profits yet they are have avoided paying their employees, diverting the revenue to personal use,” said Muzenda.

He accused the proprietors of the companies of getting into the sector to make quick money while underpaying or completing neglecting to pay the workers. Brunswick, Chitkem, National Eye and Guardian are among the notable small security companies, while Securico, Fawcett, Safeguard and Midsec are among the top firms. Midsec, however, has been struggling to pay its workers and has proposed retrenchment packages.

Muzenda said his union had received a few complaints from workers employed by the big security firms while they were handling hundreds from the small companies. “The small companies must not hide behind the lame excuse that the economy is performing poorly. While this is true, we have discovered that the money the proprietors realise is not used to capitalise operations but goes to fend for the owners’ families, their girlfriends and the officials who enabled them to get operating licences,” said Muzenda.

Numerous private security guards said they had been going for months without salaries. “We haven’t been paid for five months yet we are ordered to report for work,” said a Chitkem guard. “We know the company is being paid by its clients and we wonder where the money is going. All the time we ask management, we are told to resign.”

The guard, who declined to be named and is supposed to receive a monthly salary of $300, lives some 30km away from his workstation and cycles to work. He has been struggling to raise fees for his two primary school children and money for food as his wife is unemployed. He was part of the scores that came to lodge complaints against their employers at the PSWU office in Harare last week.

Added another who identified himself as George: “My employer is arrogant. He always tells us on parade that we must go to our NEC (national employment council) if we are fed up. My colleagues have already filed for arbitration but the problem is that the process takes too long.”

Independent researchers say Zimbabwe’s unemployment rate is above 80 percent as industries continue to close, throwing breadwinners onto the streets.

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Post published in: Business Analysis

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