By Simba Chikanza | ZimEye | London, July 16, 2023 – In a shocking turn of events, Barbara Gwangwara Tanyanyiwa, a leader in the Citizen Coalition for Change (CCC), brought a UK parliamentary committee session to a standstill as she exposed widespread exploitation by Zimbabwean British employers against employees classified under the CoS (Certificates Of Sponsorship) cluster. The incident occurred on Tuesday during a highly anticipated session titled “How To Fix The UK’s Crisis Of Care,” which drew a cross-section of peer leaders from across the country. The parliamentary committee meeting took place in the House Committee.
Tensions ran high in the chamber as the CCC leader took the floor, captivating everyone’s attention with her impassioned speech that lasted four minutes. With each word she uttered, the atmosphere became increasingly tense, leading to an unprecedented silence that gripped the entire house. Tanyanyiwa’s jaw-dropping revelations concluded with a damning statement: “There is modern-day slavery in the industry.”
The gravity of her allegations reverberated throughout the chamber, leaving lawmakers and attendees stunned. Tanyanyiwa’s revelations shed light on a disturbing reality faced by a significant number of employees within the CoS cluster, who have fallen victim to exploitative practices perpetrated by their British employers. These practices, according to Tanyanyiwa, amount to nothing short of crimes against humanity.
Adding to the urgency of the matter, the CCC leader highlighted the influx of tens of thousands of black jobseekers into the UK since the onset of the pandemic. Many of these individuals sought opportunities that, unfortunately, turned out to be nonexistent. The situation is aptly summarized in the Shona adage “There is no sugar cane at all in the UK job fields.”
To make matters worse, it was revealed that these jobseekers had paid exorbitant CoS fees, with some amounts reaching GBP10,000, only to discover the harsh reality after relocating to the UK. Despite their hopes of saving a substantial portion of their earnings, many found themselves unable to accumulate even GBP700 from their employment, leading to immense disappointment and financial hardship.
Some employers are paying workers a paltry, GBP3.50 which 200% below the minimum wage. Others are subjecting employees to illegal long hours without breaks.
Barbara Tanyanyiwa also heads the newly formed Pan African Workers Association (PAWA). This latest revelation has further galvanized support for PAWA, as they aim to protect the rights and interests of African workers in the UK.
The consequences of Tanyanyiwa’s explosive speech are yet to be fully realized, but one thing is clear: the shocking expose has ignited a firestorm of public outrage, demanding immediate action to rectify the exploitative practices taking place within the CoS cluster.
The allegations made by the CCC leader have the potential to reshape labour practices and regulations in the UK, providing a ray of hope for those affected by these gross violations of human rights.
The citizens of the UK and the international community at large will be watching closely as the story continues to develop. The plight of the exploited workers demands urgent attention, and the consequences for British employers found guilty of these crimes may be severe.
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