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Protect unemployed citizens

THE confusion that erupted in Solwezi this week where hundreds of disillusioned job seekers almost staged a riot is a timely warning about the threat the mishandling of labour matters poses to law and order.
The manner in which the security company at the centre of the scandal handled close to about 600 unsuccessful applicants for employment as security guards was a recipe for public disorder.
Even its wordy explanation in a follow-up advertisement is a mere attempt at damage control.
It is fortunate that the situation did not degenerate into a riot because the aggrieved job seekers engaged the government, which helped defuse the tension.
The security company ran an advertisement inviting people to apply for employment as security guards.
With unemployment levels in Zambia shooting through the roof hundreds of people applied for the jobs.
The unsuccessful applicants claimed that they were asked to pay K25 each as application fee.
It seems the organizers did not explain to the desperate aspirants that the training they were being subjected to was simply part of the selection process and did not amount to engagement formalities.
Employers should not be allowed to abuse desperate citizens in such a manner.
The protesters had been promised to be deployed at Lumwana Mine after completing a one-month training programme which they undertook from April 1 to 29.
The company, which trains fully licensed, insured and bonded armed security officers, however, got more than it had bargained for when 600 unemployed youths seeking greener pastures besieged Kikombe Secondary School to be recruited as per advertisement.
However, it turned out that there were no such job offers at Lumwana Mine.
This angered them and they had to seek clarification from the government.
One of the ‘duped’ job seekers, Patrick Masheka, said the company should refund them the money they spent on activities they did as required of them.
“These people called us themselves, told us to pay K25 for applications and assured they would employ us, made us buy folders, we took passport size photos, cut our hair every week,” a distraught Mr Masheka said.
During training they were subjected to beatings and insults.
The mob besieged the district administration offices of the central government to express their grievances and seek answers.
Fortunately, Government officials managed to dissuade the mob from taking the law into their own hands.
Had they rioted local police would have been overwhelmed because the rioters would have been joined by other people who might have had their own grievances and frustrations to vent, including opportunistic criminals.
The human and material cost would have been telling.
Government has a duty to protect desperate unemployed men and women, especially the youth, who are vulnerable to abuse and all manner of exploitation by employers and agents.
It is cruel to raise the hopes of desperate hundreds of citizens by subjecting them to training and forcing them to spend money on such things as stationery and haircuts only to tell them there were no jobs for them, worse still make them spend money.Protect unemployed citizens
THE confusion that erupted in Solwezi this week where hundreds of disillusioned job seekers almost staged a riot is a timely warning about the threat the mishandling of labour matters poses to law and order.
The manner in which the security company at the centre of the scandal handled close to about 600 unsuccessful applicants for employment as security guards was a recipe for public disorder.
Even its wordy explanation in a follow-up advertisement is a mere attempt at damage control.
It is fortunate that the situation did not degenerate into a riot because the aggrieved job seekers engaged the government, which helped defuse the tension.
The security company ran an advertisement inviting people to apply for employment as security guards.
With unemployment levels in Zambia shooting through the roof hundreds of people applied for the jobs.
The unsuccessful applicants claimed that they were asked to pay K25 each as application fee.
It seems the organizers did not explain to the desperate aspirants that the training they were being subjected to was simply part of the selection process and did not amount to engagement formalities.
Employers should not be allowed to abuse desperate citizens in such a manner.
The protesters had been promised to be deployed at Lumwana Mine after completing a one-month training programme which they undertook from April 1 to 29.
The company, which trains fully licensed, insured and bonded armed security officers, however, got more than it had bargained for when 600 unemployed youths seeking greener pastures besieged Kikombe Secondary School to be recruited as per advertisement.
However, it turned out that there were no such job offers at Lumwana Mine.
This angered them and they had to seek clarification from the government.
One of the ‘duped’ job seekers, Patrick Masheka, said the company should refund them the money they spent on activities they did as required of them.
“These people called us themselves, told us to pay K25 for applications and assured they would employ us, made us buy folders, we took passport size photos, cut our hair every week,” a distraught Mr Masheka said.
During training they were subjected to beatings and insults.
The mob besieged the district administration offices of the central government to express their grievances and seek answers.
Fortunately, Government officials managed to dissuade the mob from taking the law into their own hands.
Had they rioted local police would have been overwhelmed because the rioters would have been joined by other people who might have had their own grievances and frustrations to vent, including opportunistic criminals.
The human and material cost would have been telling.
Government has a duty to protect desperate unemployed men and women, especially the youth, who are vulnerable to abuse and all manner of exploitation by employers and agents.
It is cruel to raise the hopes of desperate hundreds of citizens by subjecting them to training and forcing them to spend money on such things as stationery and haircuts only to tell them there were no jobs for them, worse still make them spend money.

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