By Staff Reporter
AFC Holdings workers Tuesday held a protest in Harare against poor salaries, opaque financial deals and strained working relations with their employer.
The protest was led by the Zimbabwe Banks and Allied Workers Union (ZIBAWU).
The employees also petitioned the bank’s management highlighting disparities in executive benefits compared to those of the lowest-paid workers.
Additionally, they called for an investigation into the bank’s procurement processes and transactions.
ZIBAWU Secretary General Peter Mutasa, addressing journalists during the demonstration, specifically criticized Kenny Chitando, the CEO of AFC Holdings – the bank’s parent company – accusing him of mismanaging the financial institution.
“We are worried as workers of Zimbabwe and as representatives of workers of AFC, in that ever since the new CEO Mr Kenny Chitando came, we have seen things going downwards.
“We have seen the deterioration of industrial relations in many ways; there is no meaningful social dialogue as management is doing what it wants.
“He came and scrapped some of the allowances that had been negotiated a long time ago,” Mutasa said.
Mutasa also raised concerns about the extravagant perks enjoyed by executives of the state-run institution, saying that these benefits come at the cost of the struggling workers.
“What we are worried about is the widening gap between those on top, the executives and the non-managerial staff for example,” he said.
“When the bank is saying it does not have money, we have seen it buying the latest Land Cruisers for the CEO at a value of over US$245 000.
“Managerial members are getting over US$80 000 or US$100 000 worth of vehicles, they don’t pay anything they are given as loans but the bank gives them all the allowances to pay back those loans including insurance.
“We have also seen management and executives getting everything, entertainment allowance, clothing allowance, school fees at elite schools, security allowances each time they go out and they are continuously going out,” he said.
Mutasa also flagged the lavish benefits enjoyed by the state-run institution’s executives at the expense of suffering workers.
The union also suggested that the bank’s decline in market share could be attributed to ineffective leadership and mismanagement.
ZIBAWU thinks that the bank possesses the financial capability to offer fair wages, provided there is equity within the organization.
In their petition, employees also urged for a comprehensive inquiry into AFC Bank’s procurement processes and transactions, expressing concerns that the bank has allocated over US$500,000 for the renovation of a leased property.
Meanwhile last week, the disgruntled workers rejected an end-of-year party due to inhumane working conditions.