Bank Workers Petition RBZ Against Working Without Covid-19 Protective Clothing

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By Mary Taruvinga

BANK workers have petitioned the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) over a directive issued by the apex bank last week to reopen Money Transfer Agencies (MTAs) when there were no resources availed to protect them against Covid-19.

Through Zimbabwe Banks and Allied Workers Union (ZIBAWU) president, Peter Mutasa, the workers are crying foul that the RBZ failed to consult them before the issuance of the directive for MTAs to reopen before the end of the 21-day national lockdown.

Zimbabwean banks have no safety and health standards at a time the country is trying to halt the spread of coronavirus.

“We do not see any measures put in place to ensure all banks adhere to the minimum safety and health standards. This is critical not just for the health of the staff, but clients and the nation,” Mutasa said.

ZIBAWU urged RBZ to ensure that all banking halls were not overstaffed and only workers enough to man the money transfer departments were at work.

The union is also demanding safe and reliable transportation for employees manning the MTAs including fuel allowances for those using personal vehicles.

“Workers must also be provided with adequate personal protective clothing and equipment such as masks and gloves. The working environment must be sanitised to ensure safety,” the workers said in their petition.

ZIBAWU also demanded reasonable life assurance cover, COVID-19 counselling for all bank workers and their families as well as regular testing of the disease.

“It is our belief that these are issues the central bank ought to have consulted on and put in place before asking banks to reopen. Without these guarantees the central bank will be putting the lives of bank workers at risk,” added Mutasa.