Bank salary talks reach deadlock – union

By Chipo Musoko, HARARE, August 5 (The Source) – The Zimbabwe Banks and Allied Workers’ Union (Zibawu) says negotiations for a 16 percent salary increase for bank workers have reached a deadlock after employers insisted on paying 3.7 percent in line with the country’s inflation rate.
“We have declared a deadlock in the 2013 salary negotiations and have referred the matter to labour for conciliation and possibly arbitration,” said Zibawu general secretary, Peter Mutasa.
He said the lowest paid worker was earning $575 and wanted the figure increased to $700 in line with the country’s poverty datum line.
Mutasa said employers were citing declining profits and political uncertainty as some reasons for failing to increase salaries.
Last year, salary negotiations ended up in a deadlock resulting in the Labour Court awarding workers a 10 percent increase which would have seen the lowest paid worker earning $630.
However, employers insisted on a 4.9 percent increase and have since appealed against the arbitration award.
Zibawu, with a membership is over 5000, said workers feared lack of job security following the closure of many banks in the last decade.
Interfin bank is currently under curatorship while struggling Capital bank and Trust Bank were retrenching and sending workers on compulsory leave respectively.
Mutasa said workers also feared closure of banks should they fail to increase their capital to $50 million by June 30 and to $100 million by June 30 2014.
“We don’t know how they (banks) are going to respond and we hope that they will engage all stakeholders before taking drastic action that will have a bearing on workers,” he said.
 “There is now a huge gap between salaries of ordinary workers and management with managerial staff earning as much as $23,000 (monthly) plus other benefits,” he said.
Last year the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions embarked on a campaign to publicize salaries of executives, as a means of exerting pressure for employee wage hikes.
“We stopped doing that thinking that we could engage and negotiate, but going forward these are some of the options we might consider. Some of the banks are struggling yet executives continue to milk them,” he said.