Banks told not to hide be­hind pre­scribed minimum pay­outs

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Business Chronicle - Oliver Kazunga

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

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