Avert Stanbic strike

HARARE - We implore Stanbic Bank and the Zimbabwe Banks and Allied Workers Union (Zibawu) to immediately open negotiations to prevent a national strike initially announced yesterday.

Government must engage in similar efforts to try to avert the walk-out that bank workers have planned.

Zibawu said Stanbic Bank non-managerial workers have given notice to strike in two weeks after a deadlock over salary and allowance increases.

We implore government to make its best efforts in talks with Zibawu to prevent the threatened 24-hour national strike.

If Zibawu’s assertions are true, then government must move in immediately to repudiate the repression against banking workers at Stanbic.

In a July 29, notice fired off to the bank’s managing director and signed by the union’s general secretary, Peter Mutasa and workers’ representatives, Zibawu said workers advised of their intention to engage in a collective job action against the bank, citing failure to agree on a 10 percent salary increment.

Surely that’s not a top-line ripple for Stanbic. This can be worked out to ensure a win-win situation for both parties.

Other demands in the notice were school fees allowances of at least $200 per term for each child, 100 percent medical aid cover and $3 lunch allowance.

The workers say they have tried to negotiate an appropriate settlement and the matter was referred for conciliation where no amicable resolution was reached.

“By receipt of this letter, be duly advised that the required 14-day notice period starts to run henceforth. It is our hope, however, that this intended collective job action will be averted,” read the notice.

The lowest paid non-managerial bank worker earns a gross salary of $626 per month while the industry wants it increased to at least $700.

Talks between Stanbic and Zibawu seem to have broken down and only two weeks remain before the strike.

Service disruptions are going to start much sooner and this will have repercussions on the whole banking sector.

The parties must quickly go for binding arbitration. Government must pre-empt this strike.

For all intents and purposes, labour relations in the banking sector are not yet broken.

With regular frequency, we have impasses that trigger or threaten serious disruptions, well before any actual strike, followed by seat-of-the-pants legislation to force arbitration,
sometimes too late to protect people from interruptions in their banking business.

This strike is expected to affect all operations in financial entities.

The Labour ministry has to guarantee the provision of the country’s essential public services.

We constantly encourage dialogue to avoid this needless strike.

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