ZIBAWU awaits Police go ahead to stage UK embassy demo

By Own Correspondent   

THE Zimbabwe Banks and Allied Workers Union (ZIBAWU) says it still awaits the Zimbabwe Republic Police nod to stage the demonstration scheduled to take place at the British Embassy in Harare within a week’s time as a show against the ‘colonialist-like’ transfer of Stanchart’s workers to FBC Bank.

The nasty twist of events comes at the back of FBC’s agreement with Stanchart to acquire the local business in Zimbabwe in June last year after the former was successful ahead of other possible suitors.

Stanchart reached a strategic decision to divest from a few markets, namely Lebanon, Angola, Cameroon, Gambia, Sierra Leone, Zimbabwe and Jordan, and to exit the CPBB (Consumer Private and Business Banking) business in Côte d’Ivoire and Tanzania.

 FBCH is set to acquire 100% shareholding in Stanchart and by extension, the custodial services business that is wholly owned by Standard Chartered Bank Zimbabwe.

Against the backdrop, ZIBAWU has been at loggerheads with the exiting Stanchart over a cocktail of issues which include the opaqueness of the terms under which workers will be handed over to the new owner.

Just this week the workers group exposed a very unclear ex-gratia payment arrangement offered to the workers on condition that they append their signatures in agreement with the transfer proposal to the new shareholder.

Fear is currently running high on the fate awaiting the Stanchart workers as they remain in the dark on what will befall them once the sale is completed.

Reaching another level, the feud reached a crescendo after ZIBAWU secretary general, Peter Mutasa  signaled the intention to rope in the British government in a last ditch bid to save the workers.

“We write to formally notify the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) of an upcoming demonstration organized by the Zimbabwe Banks and Allied Workers Union, a registered trade union representing the interests of bank workers in Zimbabwe,” he said.

In the letter, Mutasa said despite being exempted from the requirement under the Maintenance of Peace Act, there was need to adhere to ther customary courtesy of notifying the police of our planned demonstration.

“Approximately 200 workers from various bank across the country will gather at the aforementioned address. The purpose of this demonstration is to petition the Ambassador of the United Kingdom, urging the UK government to intervene in addressing the dehumanizing and colonial treatment of workers by Standard Chartered Bank, UK owned financial institution operating in Zimbabwe,” he said.

He assured the authorities that all necessary measures have been taken to ensure that the demonstration is peaceful and does not disrupt public order or safety.

The demonstration is organized in accordance with Section 59 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, which guarantees the right to peaceful assembly and petition.

“Our intent is to raise awareness about the dehumanizing and colonial treatment of workers at Standard Chartered Bank employees and seek constructive dialogue with appropriate authorities.

We are fully committed to cooperating with the police in maintaining law and order and will provide any additional information or support that may be required,” the letter added. 

However, the ZRP has since turned down the demo notification, but the ZIBAWU have since lodged another application which they are waiting on authorities to grant the green light.

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