By Kudzai Chawafambira
HARARE – Labour unrest continues to rock NMB Bank Limited (NMB) with non-managerial staff giving the financial institution a fresh ultimatum after a botched strike attempt.
The Zimbabwe Banks and Allied Workers’ Union (Zibawu) — representing the NMB workers — on Monday called off a meeting to prepare for a job action and gave the institution until July 22, to address the workers’ grievances.
The threat to down tools was prompted by a 30 percent salary increment awarded to the bank’s management in March.
“We have given NMB management a fresh notice… they have unlawfully denied labour officers access to employees for the mandatory secret ballot until the (strike) notice expired,” Peter Mutasa, Zibawu’s secretary general told businessdaily.
“It is our hope that this time they will not unlawfully hinder, obstruct or prevent employees from exercising this fundamental and constitutional right,” he said.
Initially, Zibawu had given NMB a two-week notice which lapsed on Monday. Mutasa said the disgruntled employees are supposed to secretly vote first, in favour or against the strike, for it to go ahead.
“We are going to arm-twist the employer until he gives in to the workers’ demands. We are demanding fairness in all respects,” he added.
Zibawu — an umbrella labour body that represents workers in the financial services sector — argues that the industrial action was necessitated by management’s refusal to co-operate.
“Such double standards should not be allowed to flourish in our sector hence our recommendation for collective job action. The non-managerial employees are left wondering how an institution that has been scouting for capital is able to finance such a huge salary increase to the already well-paid managerial and executive staff,” the union said.
However, NMB’s managing director Benefit Washaya last week had pointed out that the impending industrial action is “unprocedural”.
“The intended job action is illegal and unnecessary. I don’t believe our staff will embark on the collective job action proposed by Zimbabwe Banks and Allied Workers Union,” he said.
Washaya said discussions were underway between Zibawu and the Banking Employers Association of Zimbabwe (Beaz) at industry level to resolve the issue.
“Once negotiations are concluded, the bank will comply with the agreed position and increase non-managerial salaries accordingly,” he said.
Zibawu says the strike will achieve the desired objective without causing great inconvenience to clients.
The union said the calls for non-managerial staff salaries reviews is justified by the stability of the financial sector performance and surging bank deposits since dollarisation in 2009. But this comes as several banks have embarked on various restructuring measures, including job cuts, in a bid to contain costs. Daily News