Banks told not to hide behind prescribed minimum payouts
THE Zimbabwe Banks and Allied Workers’ Union (ZIBAWU) says financial institutions have the capacity to pay their former employees more than the prescribed minimum retrenchment payouts under the July 17, 2015 Supreme Court ruling.
Following the Supreme Court ruling which granted employers powers to dismiss employees on three months’ notice without severance pay, a number of companies nationwide took the opportunity to lay off workers.
ZIBAWU assistant secretary-general Mr Shepherd Ngandu said the banks’ ability to pay the dismissed workers above the prescribed minimum retrenchment payouts was justified by the profits the institutions recorded in the half-year ended June 30, 2016.
He said it was regrettable that some banks who dismissed workers following the July 17, 2015 Supreme Court judgment were paying the workers the prescribed two weeks salary for every year served.
“The prescribed minimum retrenchment payout is ideal for companies that are ailing. But for banks that are posting profits as evidenced in their financials for the half-year, it’s ridiculous for them to pay the retrenched workers as prescribed by the Supreme Court ruling of July 17, 2015,” said Mr Ngandu in an interview last week.
His remarks come amid reports that bank workers last Tuesday picketed BancABC offices in Harare protesting over its treatment of retrenched employees.
Last year, BancABC dismissed over 40 workers taking advantage of the July 17, 2015 Supreme Court ruling.
It has been reported that the bank has started attaching properties of the dismissed workers to recover loans that were issued during their tenure of employment.
“Banks shouldn’t hide behind the prescribed minimum payout. It’s no doubt that BancABC is sponsoring Dynamos and Highlanders football clubs but we’re saying ‘Charity begins at home’, they have the capacity to pay the dismissed workers above the prescribed minimum. It’s also regrettable that BancABC has started attaching property from the former workers to recover loans that were issued to the workers during their term of employment because the retrenchment payouts are insufficient to recover the loans,” Mr Ngandu said.
The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions has said it has referred to the Retrenchment Board more than 30 companies seeking exemption from paying retrenchment packages to dismissed workers.
In August 2015, President Mugabe signed into law the Labour Amendment Bill to repeal common law provisions employers had used to fire workers on three months’ notice.
However, some employers have made a High Court application against some amendments to the Labour Act.
The employers who were part of the High Court application challenging the amendments to the Labour law have refused to approach the Retrenchment Board for an exemption as this would imply they retrenched the workers. — @okazunga