Riot Police Called In, As Bank Fires 75 Workers


BANC-ABC has fired 75 workers, sparking demonstrations outside its Arundel offices as the financial institution joins a growing list of Zimbabwean companies taking advantage of a recent Supreme Court ruling which makes it easier to dismiss employees without severance pay.

The fired workers staged demonstrations on Tuesday at the bank’s local head office in protest against the dismissals they claimed were illegal, forcing management to call riot police who subsequently sealed off entrances into the premises.

“We were given dismissal letters last Friday but without any benefits,” said one disgruntled former employee.

“The company recently posted good results showing that it is making a profit but they are throwing us out without any compensation. We reject the dismissals targeting shop-floor workers,” he said, asking not to be identified.

However, there were no skirmishes as the striking former employees peacefully dispersed.

BancABC management could not immediately comment but the Zimbabwe Banks and Allied Workers Union (ZIBAWU), which represents about 5,000 bank employees, confirmed the dismissals.

Tirivanhu Marimo, ZIBAWU national organising secretary, said the dismissals were illegal.

“The government should intervene,” said Marimo.

BancABC is the arm of pan-African banking group ABC Holdings, which is 98,70 percent owned by Atlas Mara, an investment company co-owned by former Barclays Plc chief executive Bob Diamond and African entrepreneur Ashish Thakkar.

Labour unions say over 20,000 workers have lost their jobs following the 17 July Supreme Court ruling, and last week Parliament rushed through the Labour Amendment Bill to stop the bleeding, but it is yet to be signed into law, with more changes in the offing.

Delivering his state of the nation address on Tuesday, President Robert Mugabe said the review of the amendments was ongoing.

“We intend to come up with a win-win situation,” said Mugabe.



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