MORE than 40 former BancABC workers whose contracts were terminated on notice following the infamous Chidyausiku judgment have petitioned President Robert Mugabe to intervene after the bank started attaching their properties over their failure to repay loans.
The workers, whose contracts were terminated in 2015, had obtained loans based on their continued employment with the bank since they were full time employees.
However, on termination they were paid two weeks’ salary for every year served as retrenchment packages, which was not enough to offset the loans.
The bank refused to negotiate payment terms or to write off part of the loans as per the custom in the banking sector, citing government policy as enshrined in the Labour Amendment Act Number 5, insisting on shorter repayment periods at commercial interest rates instead of the staff interest rates they had initially agreed.
The workers, through their union, the Zimbabwe Banks and Allied Workers Union (ZIBAWU) pleaded with President Mugabe to flex his muscle and order the bank to offer reasonable re-payment terms, tenure and even write offs in some deserving cases.
“The bank was allowed to get away with murder as it exploited the deficiencies in the current retrenchment laws and paid pittances despite the fact that it had the capacity to pay reasonable retrenchment packages,” they said in a petition signed on their behalf by ZIBAWU General Secretary, Peter Mutasa.
The petition was copied to the Ministry of Labour, Uni Global Union, Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions and to the Managing Director of BancABC.
The former employees said government should do everything in its power to ensure that they were not further abused by their former employer, who they accused of putting their employment security at risk.
They accused the employer of opting for costly lawsuits as opposed to meaningful dialogue, adding that other well-meaning employers had insurance cover to protect both employees and them in such situations.
“The question that we ask is; where is the government when citizens are abused and exploited by employers such as BancABC. Is this the suffering of the workers and citizens in line with the policy of the government?”
The former workers also staged a two-hour demonstration at the BancABC Samora Machel Avenue branch to register their displeasure with the banks management.Advertisement
Hundreds of workers from other sectors also joined in the demonstration in solidarity and were addressed by the ZCTU Secretary General, Japhet Moyo as well as the ZIBAWU President, Farai Katsande.
Moyo said the demonstration was not a one of event but would continue until the bank bowed down to pressure.
“As long as our demands have not been met, we will continue to have such demonstrations and also encourage account holders to shun the bank,” he said.