By Alois Vinga
BANK workers in Zimbabwe are planning a demonstration against job cuts by Standard Chartered Bank, a development they blame on the central bank’s alleged failure to contain the crisis.
This was revealed by the Zimbabwe Banks and Allied Workers Union (ZIBAWU) in a letter sent for members across the country inviting them to take part in the demonstration set for next week.
“Comrades, ZIBAWU has resolved to demonstrate against Standard Chartered Bank’s perennial retrenchments.
“We have noted that the jobs of those retrenched employees are still required in the bank but have been exported and are now being done by people in Kenya and India on behalf of Stanchart Zimbabwe’s Clients,” the document says.
The bank workers’ group noted that operational services like ATM Card production and Call Centers were now based in Kenya.
The union expressed disappointment over the role of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe which it accuses of granting StanChart the go ahead to cut jobs.
“The RBZ has been approving such retrenchments to our amazement. Workers are being consumed through an approved neo-liberal business model,” said ZIBAWU.
The union also accused the bank of failing to pay better packages despite making very huge profits averaging around $13 million annually.
The workers said that while it accepted job cuts and retrenchments in certain circumstances, they were worried that retrenchments have become the order of the day.
“In 2016, the bank paid two weeks salary for every year served even though it was making such huge profits.
“As if the 2016 retrenchment was not enough, the bank successfully embarked on such inhumane retrenchment exercises in 2017 and 2018 respectively.
“What is worrying is that it wants to embark on yet another such exercise, the second in 2018, shamefully before the ink has dried on the last retrenchment,” said ZIBAWU official Shepherd Ngandu.
But in an emailed response StanChart’s head of corporate affairs Lilian Hapanyengwi neither confirmed nor dismissed the allegations hinting that the move was in line with corporate strategy.
“The bank’s international strategy to outsource processing to various centres has been in place for many years, supporting the Bank’s markets across Africa, Asia and the Middle East.
“Hubbing select operations enables Standard Chartered, and many other multi-national companies, to streamline internal business processes and efficiencies, and most importantly, deliver an enhanced and consistent level of service to our retail, commercial and institutional clients,” she said.