Agribank workers seek US$-indexed salaries

BY FIDELITY MHLANGA

AGRIBANK employees are demanding interbank rated salaries as they decry current earnings which have been eroded by ravaging inflation.

Agitated workers at the banking institution have rejected a recent 100% cushioning allowance, pushing for a proper salary hike.

According to a communique gleaned by NewsDay, Agribank workers are incensed that other players in the banking sector are now offering US dollar-indexed salaries.

“The banking sector’s annual salary increment is based on obtaining official inflation as per SI150 of 2013. In addition, institutions have concluded internal arrangements over and above industry minimums in line with our labour laws.

This year we were awarded a 42% as annual increment. We also want to acknowledge the effort which the employer is making by giving a hardship allowance. However, these efforts are not adequately addressing the plight of the employee which is mainly caused by the inflationary environment which the country is experiencing,” a communique reads.

Employees complained that cushioning allowances paid to them could not address their deep-seated financial needs following a goods and services price upsurge.

“The prevailing economic hardship in the country is affecting the social welfare of Agribank workers. Transport, food accommodation, medical, clothing and (school) fees have increased by more than 900%.The government, in its mid term budget review, has increased most services by more than 500%,”

Currently, the minimum paid wage at Agribank is $936 and employees are complaining that they are subsidising the employer through borrowing for transport, rentals, food, medical expenses and general upkeep due to the mismatch between earnings and obligations.

“Now therefore, we demand that you urgently address the financial challenges that workers are facing. This must not wait for the return of the CEO (chief executive officer). It is our plea that you urgently index the employees’ salaries with the prevailing exchange rate.”

In May this year, Zimbabwe’s banking sector employees threatened industrial action demanding a 60% salary hike at a time the workers started sleeping in banking halls protesting over poor remuneration.

Some employers conceded by offering US$-indexed salaries.The Zimbabwe banking sector inclusive of managers has a staff complement of 4 000 workers.

Agribank recorded a year-to-date profit of $4,6 million end of May above budgeted profit of ZW$3,8 million, representing a positive 23% variance.

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