75% of banking sector jobs lost due to digitization

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By Alois Vinga

THE Zimbabwe Banks and Allied Workers Union (ZIBAWU) says 75% of the sector’s jobs have been lost since the turn of the millennium due to a combination of accelerated digitization and socio-political factors bedeviling the nation at large in the last two decades.

Speaking to on the deliberations made at the high level convention which brought together workers from across the country’s banking sector, trade unionist Peter Mutasa bemoaned the shrinking workforce.

“The congress coincided with extremely difficult operating conditions which have seen our ability to serve our members effectively being constrained. The economy that has been in a challenging position stagnation for decades taking a huge toll on trade unionism.

“We have seen a decline of our membership from as high as 12 000 in the late 1990s to around 3000 currently. The banking sector has also witnessed mega changes including digitalization and automation,” he said.

He said high unemployment in the country has seriously affected collective bargaining as the traditional methods like strikes have become less effective.

The unionist said the  labour law regime has remained  restrictive to labour  freedoms a situation he said  is further complicated by  the political environment has become toxic for trade unions as the government treats every union with suspicion and as an enemy of the state.

Mutasa said the convention established that bankers are facing different forms of mental health problems as a result of the economic and social crisis, work demands and at times interpersonal conflicts both at work and in society.

He said the convention also took time to appreciate the state of social security in the country after realizing that many workers are retiring in misery without any meaningful financial security with pensions that are meaningless.

“We noted that most of the problems we face are not emanating from the labour market but from politics. We agreed that we have a governance crisis that is affecting the economy, society and public services.

“We therefore resolved to build an active citizenry through massive civic and political education of our members and communities around us,” he added.