Oromia agents banned for exploiting cheap labor


The Oromia Labour and Social Affairs Bureau has banned employment agents who hire security guards, drivers, cleaners and other types of manual labor staff saying that they were exploiting people.

Over 120 agents have been working in the region for the last seven years, hiring close to 10,000 workers for public and private companies.

The Bureau found, after an investigation, that many agents were making a huge profit by withholding some of the salary intended for the worker for themselves. They also failed to provide working clothes, shoes, and other benefits that they promised the workers.

The Bureau added that agency was getting a lot of business and earning a lot of money but that in the process many of the worker’s rights were being violated by negligent agents.

The investigation also found that agency workers were denied basic employment rights. They were not entitled to sick pay, had no notice period and were had little recourse if they suddenly lost their jobs.

Bureau Head Mohammed Jello told Capital said; “We don’t have a problem with the agents but when they do something it must be a win- win situation. In Oromia many people don’t have a job so when a company opens up near them, the opportunity should be open for them but these agents are bringing people from the remote countryside into the community because they can pay them less or exploit them more easily and this does not leave jobs for the community.”

Despite the stereotype of agency workers being short term and temporary, the agents are actually getting more money than the employees. The bureau acknowledges that there are good reasons for some employers and workers to use agencies including flexibility, variety and absence of bureaucracy but added that that many do it out of necessity rather than choice.

The Bureau decided to help people organize themselves into small and medium enterprises.

We decided that if we get the people who were working for agents into small and medium enterprises  we can create more jobs and benefit more comminutes, Mohammed said adding that the people who were working under these agents will be managed by small and medium enterprises

In other development news the Bureau added that it budgeted 6.6 billion birr to create job opportunities for one million people in construction, mining and service.

The program will use 3.3 billion birr from the 10 billion birr revolving fund provided to create jobs for jobless people in Ethiopia.

To create a better business environment the Oromia administration plans to establish the 1.6 billion birr Odaa Integrated Transport Share Company.

Kegna Soft Drink Share Company will also be established in April and will make, water, alcohol free beer and juices.