Firstly, it is so astounding that a Country well-endowed with prominent legal minds and scholars such as John Sangwa, Sakwiba Sikota, Brian Mundubile, Musa Mwenye, Robert Simeza, Tutwa Ngulube etc. can simply turn a blind eye when apparent illegalities are taking place in the Country. Is it that our learned colleagues are not concerned about everyday challenges of average Zambians and only ‘show up’ when it is politics involved?
Secondly, equally worrying is the conspicuous deafening silence by the government itself. This is a government which campaigned on the platform of being pro-workers. The very government which has a Lawyer as President. Which government would buy the claim that this bank is just “adopting” the name of another bank based in South Africa?
How can a bank which has existed and been operating in Zambia for over 100 years simply claim that it is suddenly “changing its name” to that of another Bank? This is mockery of the worst kind. Clearly there is more than meets the eye. Definitely there are some legal obligations which this bank is trying to unscrupulously avoid.
At the heart of this scheme is the fact that apparently Barclays’ senior management want to avoid paying the workers the applicable ‘separation packages’. If this is achieved – they are assured of millions of Kwacha in bonuses, as they will have potentially saved the organization millions of kwacha. According to the law, the Barclays workers are supposed to be paid before signing new contracts with ABSA.
But it is CLEAR – what is at play here is the ‘kudyela masuku pamutu’ syndrome that is all too common among leaders of many organisations in this Country. The very syndrome that a Princess Mumbi talked about recently.
It is also quite alarming that this has been happening while Barclays employees have seemingly been docile. This attitude reflects the regrettable ‘sleepy’ nature of many Zambians. Most Zambians are just not militant enough. They notoriously tend to wait for the last time, or expect things to be done for them. Many resign their fate to nature.
In the interest of justice, we are appealing to this government to immediately launch investigations into the apparent secret/ shady transactions that have led to ABSA (South Africa) taking over Barclays bank Zambia PLC. Authorities should also establish how the shares were transferred/ bought and who the new shareholders are. Surely this is not too much to ask.
Government should ensure that if there are illegalities involved, then remedial action should be taken immediately. It is high time government came in to protect the interest of the workers at this bank. It is not clear if the current Labour Minister Mrs Joyce Nonde has the capacity to preserve the workers interests. She does not seem to have the confidence of many a Zambian worker.
And currently, there are reports that the Barclays internal labour UNION and many workers are under severe threats and intimidation by top management. The workers are being forced to sign questionable contracts. But apparently most workers feel powerless and helpless as they are not sure where to take their plight, where to run to.
It is shocking that in this day and age Zambians can easily be deceived into believing that a major bank can simply “change its name” to a different organization – apparently without any legal backing. Surely there set laws and guidelines which govern such undertakings. Companies must never be allowed to operate under a vacuum.
But the fact is that, apparently top management are all too aware that what they attempting to do is illegal as it conflicts with the current law. To ‘manage’ their employees they are using all sorts of tricks to excite the workers so as to ‘put butter on their faces’ as it were. To this end, they have organized a series of events. Next Friday for instance they will hold an ‘outdoor party’ in their car park – to create an impression that the workers are happy!
It is fair to note that the current Barclays CEO, Mizinga Shansonga Melu is a shrewd person when it comes to manipulating people, especially those at the very top. She is a master dribbler. This woman is widely known to merely survive through ‘connections’ with high ranking officials and through manipulating the media.
This explains why Barclays has been moving all their core banking systems and applications from Barclays UK to South Africa – under the cover of darkness. In some cases workers would be requested to start work at 23hrs till the following morning. The staff members involved were threatened and instructed to operate under total secret. All their systems have since been aligned with ABSA.
Now, surely it is high time government moved in to tame Barclays bank and curtail its illegal activities. Of late this bank has been making headlines for all the wrong reasons. Something is simply not right at this embattled bank.