HARARE – NMB Bank says an impending industrial action by its non-managerial workers is unprocedural.
“The intended job action is illegal and unnecessary. I don’t believe our staff will embark on the collective job action proposed by Zimbabwe Banks and Allied Workers Union (Zibawu),” NMB Bank’s managing director Benefit Washaya told businessdaily on Thursday.
Washaya said discussions are currently underway between Zibawu and the Banking Employers Association of Zimbabwe (BEAZ) at industry level to resolve the issue.
“Once negotiations are concluded, the bank will comply with the agreed position and increase non-managerial salaries accordingly,” he said.
This comes after Zibawu had issued a warning of the intended strike due to a salary dispute between the bank and its workers.
Zibawu — an umbrella labour body that represents workers in the financial services sector — said the industrial action was necessitated by management’s refusal to increase non-managerial salaries despite awarding themselves a 30 percent salary increase in March this year.
“Such double standards should not be allowed to flourish in our sector hence our recommendation for collective job action. The non-managerial employees are left wondering how an institution that has been scouting for capital is able to finance such a huge salary increase to the already well-paid managerial and executive staff,” Zibawu said.
Zibawu said the strike will achieve the desired objective without causing great inconvenience to clients.
“Apart from the collective job action by NMB employees, the union has also approved picketing by union members and supporters in support of this worthy cause,” added Zibawu.
Meanwhile, Zibawu is finalising preparations for NMB workers meeting to be held next Monday in time for the lapse of a 14-day notice the following day.
“We urge all of you to participate and support our brothers and sisters who are enduring unfair treatment at this bank,” said Zibawu.
The union justified calls for salary reviews on the back of surging bank deposits since dollarisation in 2009.
However, some banks have indicated various restructuring measures that include job cuts, rationalising and streamlining of operations in a bid to contain costs and boost operational efficiencies This comes after the bank’s parent company NMBZ Holdings recently sealed a $16,4 million debt-equity deal with three foreign investors who bought a 26,79 percent stake in the London Stock Exchange and Zimbabwe Stock Exchange-listed company.
The new investors — AfricInvest, Norfund and FMO — each injected $5 million for a total of 103 million shares while Norfund advanced a further $1,4 million as a line of credit.
Subsequent to the latest deal, the top five shareholders in NMBZ are African Century NNR (17,05 percent) Old Mutual (14,79 percent), ?AfricInvest, Norfund and FMO each holding 8,38 percent respectively.
The fresh capital injection is expected to increase NMB Bank’s capitalisation as the bank rushes to reach the regulatory minimum of $75 million by December 2013 before eventually reaching $100 million by June 2014.