ZUFIAW Signs Exit Package for Atlas Mara Workers
By Wilfred Zulu
Following extensive negotiations between ZUFIAW and Atlas Mara Limited regarding restructuring exercise in view of the re-organisation exercise of the bank, the Union and management have finally signed a redundancy agreement for workers at African Banking Corporation (BancABC) and Finance Bank – Part of Atlas Mara.
Atlas Mara Limited, the owners of BankABC last year acquired a controlling stake in Finance Bank Zambia and merged the two institutions. Under new management, the institution immediately set itself on re-organisation process of which downsizing on the workforce was part.
About 150 workers comprising management and unionized have been affected by the development though ZUFIAW is still actively engaging management to reduce the number of unionized staff who have lost employment.
Mr. Chingati Msiska, General Secretary of ZUFIAW who was visibly at loss over the loss of employment by workers however urged them to “invest [their money] in projects which add value to their lives so that they live longer and participate in national development”.
Notwithstanding, still concerned with their welfare, the General Secretary appealed to management to consider partnering with ZUFIAW’s Informal Sector Desk to provide training in life skills and entrepreneurship as part of the redundancy package.
Mr. Msiska’s statement rides on the back of some impressive instances where some workers in similar situations have managed to catapult themselves to higher levels of business acumen by mastering the wit-and-grit of entrepreneurship through mentorship.
Mr. Msiska stressed that as a workers representative organisation, ZUFIAW was expected to protect the interests of “our members by negotiating an exit package which helps to sustain their livelihoods”.
“We therefore wish to accept this redundancy package after extensive consultations with our members throughout the country who advised that we abandon the dispute and proceed to implement this agreement which we are signing today,” he said.
And Acting Managing Director of Finance Bank/BancABC-Part of Atlas Mara, Mr. James Konie expressed his happiness at the conclusion of the negotiations. He explained that the decision of the bank to declare redundancies was not a deliberate act but an “inevitable’ consequence when two institutions came together.
Mr. Konie reiterated the General Secretary’s remark that negotiations hinging on reducing the number of affected workers were continuing.
He further assured the Union that salary negotiations for the remaining staff will soon commence and that the Recognition Agreement would be amended to reflect the new partnership with ZUFIAW.
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