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Serious clashes erupt in banking sector

Serious clashes erupt in banking sector


Serious clashes have erupted in banking sector amid allegations that the Bankers Association of Zimbabwe (BAZ) is refusing to sign a collective bargain agreement that the workers won through arbitration in the first quarter of this year, which would have improved their salaries by 15%.

The Zimbabwe Banks and Allied Workers Union (ZIBAWU), a lobby group that represents the interests of the workers, told this publication that BAZ is unwilling to honour their bargain.

The BAZ leadership is said to be obstructing the quarterly negotiations as well, which would pave the way for the annual negotiations.

“We have a crisis in the banking sector caused by poor legal advice by BAZ lawyers. They are attempting to stall negotiations after workers won a 15% increase through arbitration for the first quarter of 2024.

“In the second quarter under their lawyers’ advice, BAZ sought to go back to a Collective Bargaining Agreement that was concluded in 2011 which stipulates annual negotiations. This is illogical especially after we have been having quarterly negotiations for the past one-and-half years,” ZIBAWU general secretary Peter Mutasa said.

He added: “In their own words, BAZ lawyers submitted before the arbitrator that this agreement is no longer implementable but they still insist that we stick to it as a way of attempting to shortchange workers. We are also disagreeing with BAZ because they have refused to sign a new collective bargaining agreement reflecting the 15% awarded by the arbitrator.”

“Our view is that by operation of law, our collective bargaining agreement needs to be amended to reflect the new minimum wages after factoring the 15% arbitration award. As a result we are deadlocked on these two important issues.”

The employees declared that unless the banks raise their wages, they will not give in.

According to Mutasa, banks have chosen to employ harsh strategies in labour relations.

“We have no choice but to reciprocate. After protecting and promoting brands in our sector the payback is being mocked. None must be spared,” he said.

BAZ president Lawrence Nyazema said the banking sector had honoured employees’ 15% pay increase.

“The industry paid a 15% salary increase in Q1. The workers now want some more. That’s what labour unions do,”he said.

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