Bank workers group storms bosses’ meeting to press for pay hike

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By Business Reporter

The Zimbabwe Banks and Allied Workers’ Unions (ZIBAWU) on Thursday invaded a strategic planning meeting by Agribank executives in Harare demanding that the bank gives its workers a pay rise after it posted a $4.1 million profit in the first half of 2018.

ZIBAWU general secretary, Peter Mutasa told New Zimbabwe in an interview that the bank was employing oppressive strategies that were aimed at short-changing the workers and clients.

“In this period, banks are posting huge profit margins while everyone else is struggling. Our analysis of the banks results shows that banks are making money due to exorbitant charges on clients and poor remuneration to workers. So we had gone there to tell them that any strategy that does not address these issues will be resisted,” he said.

ZIBAWU national organiser, Tirivanhu Marimo said despite making huge profits over the past few years, Agribank had last given its workers a pay rise in 2015, which he said was not acceptable.

“They must seriously consider the welfare of their workers because the money that they are making is not raining from trees but is coming from the work and toiling of workers. Their strategic outing is not including workers and has to be stopped,” he said.

Marimo said the union was aware that the bank had the capacity to pay the workers but was just stubborn.

“They are buying upmarket vehicles. The new S500 were just two in the whole country and the bank has bought one such vehicle and a top of the range GC 500, only the second such car in the country and we are not happy with such inequalities where they treat themselves well at the expense of the workers,” he said.

ZIBAWU President, Farai Katsande said the protests, which were also targeted at other banks and financial institutions, would continue throughout the month or until their demands were met.

“One of our objectives, among others, is to conscientise workers, the banking public and citizens in general on their rights to fair treatment by banks and affordable access to banking services,” he said.

He said citizens had a right to demand accountability from banking institutions because they contributed to their existence through taxes.

“The questions that maybe asked are; are we happy with the current bank charges regime, do we think these charges contribute to the price increases that we are witnessing now and do we have to buy our salary proceeds from the streets when the same hoards of cash are coming from the banks,” he said.

When contacted for comment, Agribank Chief Executive Officer, Sam Malaba was not picking his phone on his net-one line.

In its half year financial statements for the half year ended 30 June, 2018, Agribank noted that it had made an after tax profit of 4.1 million dollars, which was 89 percent more than the profits recorded during the same period last year.

The bank said the profits were driven by a significant growth in productive lending to the agricultural sector as well as growth in non-funded income.

Similar campaigns have been held against Stanbic Bank, People’s Own Savings Bank and the Industrial Development Bank of Zimbabwe in the last few weeks.