Workers petition AFC Bank over poor wages, opaque deals

‘ZIBAWU is not going to tolerate nonsense and we are going to fight for our members’

By Tapiwa Svondo

Dozens of bank workers Tuesday staged a demonstration outside the AFC Bank in Harare to register their displeasure over poor wages, opaque financial deals and poor working relations with their employer.

Led by the Zimbabwe Banks and Allied Workers Union (ZIBAWU), the employees also petitioned the bank’s management over discrepancies in executive perks and those of the lowest paid, while also demanding a probe into the bank’s procurement processes and transactions.

In their petition, workers called on the bank’s board to take immediate action to address the issues.

Speaking to journalists on the side-lines of the demonstration, ZIBAWU secretary general Peter Mutasa singled out AFC Holdings – the bank’s parent company – CEO, Kenny Chitando for allegedly running down the financial institution.

“We are worried as workers of Zimbabwe and as representatives of workers of AFC, in that ever since the new CEO Mr Kenny Chitando came, we have seen things going downwards.

“We have seen the deterioration of industrial relations in many ways; there is no meaningful social dialogue as management is doing what it wants.

“He came and scrapped some of the allowances that had been negotiated long time ago,” Mutasa said.

Mutasa also flagged the lavish benefits enjoyed by the state run institution’s executives at the expense of suffering workers.

“What we are worried about is the widening gap between those on top, the executives and the non-managerial staff for example,” he said.

“When the bank is saying it does not have money, we have seen it buying latest Land Cruisers for the CEO at a value of over US$245 000.

“Managerial members are getting over US$80 000 or US$100 000 worth of vehicles, they don’t pay anything they are given as loans but the bank gives them all the allowances to pay back those loans including insurance.

“We have also seen management and executives getting everything, entertainment allowance, clothing allowance, school fees at elite schools.

“We have seen them getting security allowances each time they go out and they are continuously going out.

“This year they have gone more than five times out of the country and we don’t see the value for that.”

The union also stated that poor leadership and mismanagement may be contributing to the bank’s loss of market share.

“We have also seen that the bank is also losing its market share and it’s going down in terms of its brand and we are worried that it will cause job losses for our members.”

The union believes that the bank has the financial capacity to provide fair wages if there is equity within the organisation.

Workers, in their petition, also called for a thorough investigation into AFC Bank’s procurement processes and transactions amid concerns the bank has channelled over US$500 000 towards renovation of a rented property.

“There appears to be no transparency or good judgement in terms of procurement; for example, there is an allegation that one of the buildings that the bank is renting was renovated for US$500 000 and we do to know what business model can recover such an amount,” Mutasa said.

He added, “We have come here to petition the board chairman to tell his CEO and executive that ZIBAWU is not going to tolerate nonsense and we are going to fight for our members, we are not stopping here we are continuing with the struggle.

“We are going to go to board members each one to his place and petition them individually until and unless they change this.

“Workers had given a proposal that they need a 13th cheque like it has happened with all the other banks we have no problem with many other banks except AFC and ZB bank but the bank refused arguing that they can give a Christmas party.

“Workers do not want to go and drink beer and eat two pieces of chicken or beef; they want to be able to buy school uniforms for their kids, to pay for their kids’ books and to pay for their rentals.

“They are not interested in Christmas party.”

The union believes that by addressing these concerns and implementing corrective action, AFC Bank can create a more equitable and harmonious work environment.

This, in turn, would lead to increased productivity and a positive reputation within the banking sector.

Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe president Obert Masaraure, who came in solidarity with the bank employees, said “bank workers are suffering but big capital continues to post big profits even government itself declaring surplus”.

“So we are simply saying enough is enough; we demand our first share of the national cake as the working people and we are calling upon all the workers be it in the mining, be it in chemicals, banking, wherever you are, to come together and join this big fight for USD salaries for all workers.

“The economy is dollarising, social services have dollarised. So, it’s criminal for any employer to continue paying workers in RTGS, we reject all RTGS salaries, we demand USD salaries for the workers,” Masaraure said.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button