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Price hikes mean bank employees may start 'living at work' - Zimbabwe union

Jun 21 2019 14:54
Memory Mataranyika

A union representing bank workers at Stanbic Bank Zimbabwe, a unit of Standard Bank, says employees may need to resort to living at their workplace as a result of steep increases in transport and living costs.

The Zimbabwe Bank and Allied Workers Union (Zibawu) says it has written to the board of the bank to say employees are now "unable to buy food enough for a week from their salaries" and face evictions for failure to pay rentals.

Zimbabwe’s economy is being ravaged by rising costs in line with a steep rise in inflation which quickened to 97.7% for May. This has eroded disposable incomes and allowances to cover transport and food while at work for many employees.

The Stanbic Bank Zimbabwe employees have joined other Zimbabwean employees from the University of Zimbabwe and Midlands State University who also say they are now incapacitated to report for work normally.

Zimbabwe Bank and Allied Workers Union (Zibawu) acting secretary general, Shephered Ngandu, says he has written to the bank's chair Greg Sebbon and its CEO Joshua Tapambgwa, saying workers will be forced to sleep at the workplace to avoid missing duty.

The Stanbic Bank Zimbabwe employees have joined other Zimbabwean employees from the University of Zimbabwe and Midlands State University who also say they are now incapacitated to report for work normally.

'Unbearable'

"This situation is now unbearable. We therefore advise that from now Stanbic Bank workers will report for duty as and when they have transport fares, and or breakfast and lunch," says Ngandu in the workers committee letter to the bank dated June 20 2019 and shown to Fin24.

"Alternatively, most of your workers will start sleeping and staying at the workplace from Mondays to Saturdays in order not to abscond from work," he added.

Zibawu is the umbrella body for banking sector workers committees in Zimbabwe.

Ngandu confirmed to Fin24 by phone on Friday that the banking sector workers union had delivered the letter yesterday to the CEO and to the chairperson. They were all served to the CEO’s office, the other one for onward delivery to the board chairman, Ngandu said.

However, Stanbic Zimbabwe CEO, Joshua Tapambgwa, said by phone he was not aware of the communication from the bank workers union. 

Ngandu also told Fin24 that Zibawu had not yet received a response from the bank. "We have not received any response from them and we are still awaiting their response,"he said.

He added that most bank workers from the finance institution were also failing to meet obligations such as paying school fees for their children while "other basic necessities are now beyond the reach of many".

Ngandu says the letter does not constitute "collective job action" but is in response to challenges experienced by employees.

Stanbic is one of a few foreign banks operational in Zimbabwe, a list that also include Standard Chartered, Nedbank and Ecobank.

Zimbabwean banks have been unable to meet demand for cash from depositors as Zimbabwe continues to experience a financial crisis. 

standard bank  |  zimbabwe
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