BY FIDELITY MHLANGA
ZIMBABWE’S largest financial services group, CBZ Holdings (CBZH), has retrenched more than 100 employees as banks reel under the worsening economic environment, NewsDay can exclusively reveal.
The retrenchment exercise, which started early this month and is envisaged to continue until month end, could see the institution shedding additional jobs.
CBZH told NewsDay that the downsizing would help it contain mounting operational challenges and enhance its operational efficiency.
Apart from banking, the group operates insurance, asset management and risk advisory units.
“Following the re-organisation of the group and the subsequent implementation of a new business operating model, the organisation has had to retrench some employees in order to align to the re-designed structures.
“In summary, the reasons for the retrenchment are as follows; re-organisation and restructuring of the business, review of the business’ operating model to enhance efficiencies and cost efficiencies,” group executive marketing and corporate affairs, Matilda Nyathi said.
Employees who are still at the company are not sure of their future.
“These guys are too secretive about it, and we are not sure if it’s over or more are to be retrenched,” said one of the employees at the institution.
Zimbabwe Banks and Allied Workers’ Union (Zibawu), which represents the majority of workers who have been dismissed, suggested that the bank could have done more to retain the affected workers.
“We are worried as a union when our membership loses employment, particularly in this environment. No amount of money can compensate for loss of employment. These workers have loans and whatever packages that the employer is offering will, in most cases, be wiped out in loan repayments. In worst cases, the employees will remain owing the employer,” Zibawu acting general secretary Shepherd Ngandu said.
According to information at hand, those earmarked for retrenchment are set to get three months’ basic salary, severance pay amounting to a basic monthly salary for each year served, settlement allowance in the form of one month’s basic salary, and a medical aid cover of three months after losing their job.
Moreover, those using a staff car or have a study loan would have to repay immediately, and any outstanding balance will be recovered from the employee.
Retrenched workers on staff housing loans will have the balance outstanding transferred to mortgage finance at the prevailing staff interest rate plus 2%.
“We are calling for the employer under the current negotiations to ensure that those affected by the retrenchment are not pauperised in the process as such will have a far reaching bearing, not only on the affected, but on the bank’s image and the remaining staff whose future also remains uncertain.” Ngandu said.
“We believe that the bank could have done more in re-skilling these workers for possible re-deployment; particularly for some of the services, the bank could consider outsourcing its services to the same workers who it is retrenching in its role to address the challenge of the future of work.”
The group’s profit after-tax increased three-fold to US$72,17 million from the US$27,83 million earned in 2017.
CBZ Holdings Limited reported that its asset base grew to US$2,44 billion in the full year to December 2018 from US$2,1 billion in the previous year, making it one of the largest companies by asset size in the country.
The growth in assets was mainly driven by Treasury Bills, which increased by as much as 38% to US$1, 21 billion.