Petroleum Sector Bemoans Proliferating Labour Broking

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By Alois Vinga

THE petroleum sector says the proliferation of challenge of labour broking companies is unfairly eroding incomes and taking away long term social safety nets.

The practice of labour broking involves hiring out workers to a company at a fee while taking away the load to directly employ away from the same companies.

But speaking to Monday, Zimbabwe Petroleum and Allied Workers Union (ZIPAWU) president, Samuel Hova decried the employment strategy accusing the companies of indirectly stealing from the workers.

“Most companies in our sector have resorted to using workers availed through the labour broking companies. The main challenge is that the practice is bleeding workers because they have to share the spoils of their sweat with these companies,” he said.

He explained in most cases workers who are coming in through labour broking are not even allowed to join trade unions and if they attempt to raise their voices over the abuses they simply get fired.

“Apart from this, there is also the challenge of continuous placement of workers on contract employment. So you will see some of the workers going for five years on contracts. This is uncalled for and we will definitely fight such injustices in our sector,” he said.

Hova criticized some of the top managers in the petroleum sector for working in cahoots with labour brokers to get kickbacks in turn while putting the lives of the workers at risk.

“We also call upon the government to urgently launch investigations into the matter. I suspect the illicit practice has even spread beyond the petroleum sector,” he said.

Formed in 2014, the ZIPAWU represents workers in the petroleum sector from companies such Total Energies, Zuva Petroleum, Trek, Glow and Maps among others.

The union was officially licensed by the government in 2020 but due to the Covid19 pandemic lockdowns, widespread discharge of its mandate was choked.