THE Zimbabwe Banks and Allied Workers’ Union (Zibawu) has written to the state-owned AFC Holdings, formerly Agribank, over the bank’s refusal to meet employees’ demands for just remuneration, The NewsHawks has learnt.
Morale has hit rock-bottom at the financial institution, with workers’ lives blighted by the worsening economic crisis.
AFC Holdings comprises subsidiaries AFC Land and Development Bank, AFC Commercial Bank (formerly Agribank), AFC Leasing Company and AFC Insurance Company.
In the letter dated 8 December, Zibawu secretary-general Peter Mutasa (pictured) said the union is set to hold a demonstration while filing a formal petition against the bank’s executive.
“In accordance with Section 59 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, Zibawu, a duly registered Trade Union intends to hold gathering at, Number 18 Weale Road, Milton Park, Harare on the 19th of December 2023, between the hours 1200hrs and 1400hrs. This gathering is organised within the framework of legal provisions and constitutional rights,” read the letter by copied to the AFC chief executive officer.
“The purpose of the gathering is to lodge a formal petition with the Board Chairman for AFC by the name James Prince Mutizwa regarding the bank executive’s refusal to meet the workers’ demands for a just remuneration. This demand is rooted in the prevailing economic circumstances characterised by severe inflation which had resulted in extreme financial hardship for the workers. The intention of the petition is to seek the intervention of the Board to address this matter.
“However, it is important to draw your attention to the provisions outlined in the Maintenance of Peace and Order Act, Chapter 11:23. We have carefully reviewed the Act, Chapter 11:23. We have carefully reviewed the Act’s schedule, and it has come to our attention that the gathering we are notifying you about falls within the category of exemptions specified in the Act.”
Mutasa said the peaceful march is in line with Mopa provisions, hence Zibawu is not legally obligated to provide prior notification.
“We emphasise that our intention in highlighting this exemption is solely to ensure compliance with the applicable legal framework and maintain a cooperative relationship with the law enforcement authorities,” reads the letter.
“While acknowledging the exemption, we remain dedicated to fostering open lines of communication and a collaborative approach with the police department. Should you have any concerns or require further information regarding the gathering, we are readily available to address them promptly.”
“We firmly believe that mutual understanding and co-operation between our organisation and law enforcement agencies contribute to the overall safety and well-being of our community. We sincerely appreciate your understanding and co-operation in this matter. We extend our gratitude for your ongoing efforts in upholding peace and order within our community.”
As previously reported by The NewsHawks, the government’s policies are likely to throttle the operations of the banking sector, while hitting the pockets of long-suffering workers.
Last week, Finance minister Mthuli Ncube’s announced a move to raid safe deposit boxes at banks at any time to ascertain their contents, which experts said is likely to hasten a plunge in confidence within the sector, blighting operations.
Economist Professor Gift Mugano said loss of confidence will see banks losing income and will likely to see them failing to meet their operational costs.
“If the banks lose income . . . they have to raise their bank charges. This is unnecessary. The minister should deal with the issue on why people are not using the formal banking system and correct that. People are not banking because they do not have confidence in the sector,” Mugano said.