Police block StanChart bank employees’ demo at UK embassy

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By Alois Vinga

A BID by the Zimbabwe Banks and Allied Workers Union (ZIBAWU) to stage a demonstration at the United Kingdom (UK) embassy in Harare hit a snag following a decision by the police to block the planned protest.

This follows StanChart’s strategic decision to divest from a few markets, namely Lebanon, Angola, Cameroon, Gambia, Sierra Leone, Jordan and Zimbabwe, and to exit the CPBB (Consumer Private and Business Banking) business in Côte d’Ivoire and Tanzania.

FBCH has since completed the acquisition after acquiring a 100% shareholding in StanChart and by extension, the custodial services business that is wholly owned by Standard Chartered Bank Zimbabwe.

However, the banking sector workers group has been at loggerheads with the exiting StanChart on the back of allegations that employees received a raw deal.

To this end, ZIBAWU contends the handover of workers to the new shareholder, FBC Bank, has been mired in controversy as the workers are not even aware of the fate awaiting them.

The union says over the past months efforts to reach out to Stanchart’s regional and global management has yielded nothing as no responses to the concerns raised have been communicated.

In a last ditch bid to salvage the diminishing chances for fair compensation for employees, ZIBAWU last week notified the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) of their intention to stage a demonstration at the UK Embassy in Harare, hoping the company’s parent government would assist to relieve pressure.

Sadly, a response to the notification by the ZRP’s Officer Commanding Harare Suburban District, R Chuma shot down the request.

“I acknowledge receipt of your notification letter in connection with the holding of a demonstration at the United Kingdom Embassy located at Number 3 Norfolk Road, Mt Pleasant, Harare on May 24 2024 from 12 to 2 pm.

“My office has no justification over matters accounting to foreign embassies. You are advised to seek clearance to demonstrate at the embassy from Foreign Affairs Ministry whose response will be communicated to us,” says the letter in part.

ZIBAWU was advised that any gathering or action at the UK embassy without the authority from the Foreign Affairs ministry will be deemed illegal.