Harare, August 25, 2016 – DISGRUNTLED bank workers have petitioned the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare to take a relook into the Labour Act and reinstate collective bargaining in retrenchment processes.
The workers, under their umbrella Zimbabwe Banks and Allied Workers Union (ZIBAWU), said the action was a result of poor treatment that 44 former Banc ABC employees were getting from the bank management.
ZIBAWU President, Farai Katsande was adamant this was a negative consequence of the Labour Act, Amendment Number 5 of 2015, especially the provision that prescribed retrenchment packages.
He said Banc ABC was refusing to negotiate retrenchment terms with the workers despite the fact that the workers had been advanced loans on the basis of their employment on contracts without limit.
“As a result, the employees remained owing the employer after receiving these meager packages that were far less than the outstanding loan balances and the bank is now litigating and about to attach the properties of these employees to offset the loans,” he said.
He said this was a result of the legislature prescribing bargaining in retrenchment matters through setting out a statutory retrenchment package.
“Thus by setting out a statutory retrenchment package, the legislature was in a way siding with the employers in disregarding the various terms and conditions of employment set through collective bargaining,” he said.
He said this was dangerous as the employer was naturally politically and economically powerful than the employees.
This he said tended to take away collective bargaining which was the only way workers attempted to match their power to that of the employer.
Katsande said this had far reaching consequences as it would also burden the government which should then cushion the retrenched workers and their families when its purse was already too slim.
ZIBAWU also petitioned the parliamentary committee to encourage BancABC to reconsider its decision and cause government to interfere in the dispute between the bank and its employees.
They also demanded that parliament critically analyse all proposed future labour laws and widely consult stakeholders before passing them.