On 30th May, 2014 Investrust Bank Plc the 100% indigenous Zambian owned bank added to the army of unemployed roaming the streets by laying off over sixty (60) over-worked and underpaid Sales Reps…. The letters, individually written to us and signed by this Zambian bank’s Head – Human Resources, Mr. Martin L. CHASHA and copied to Deputy MD, Richard PHIRI, Company Secretary, Cuthbert TEMBO, Financial Controller, Ackim SINKALA (himself a former CEO of a bank, whose exit from his former bank was celebrated by all members of staff – interestingly the conditions at his former workplace, have improved since his exit), Head – Retail Banking, Emmanuel TEMBO and the equally exploited so called Acting Assistant Manager – Retail Banking, Chipego MUDENDA (who are all, with the exception of Mr. Mudenda, just a few of the RIDERS and the majority Zambian rank and file workers the overworked and underfed HORSES) on 23rd May, 2014 did not give any reasons for the mass terminations. Our efforts for an explanation from those that we thought could shed more light on the matter were met with dodgy avoidance. While the government and so-called journalists do daily reports and follow ups of exploitation by the foreign investors like the Chinese, Lebanese, Indians (KCM?) an indigenous Bank whose shareholding boasts a good number of eminent Zambians, and whose CEO is a “reputable” Zambian banker continues to exploit its employees with impunity. This makes the government’s fight against exploitation a fallacy, as the saying goes “CHARITY BEGINS AT HOME”.
The long and short of it is that our letters of termination, which we are willing to avail to anyone who doubts our predicament, says that we were on temporal contracts despite the fact that almost all of us have faithfully slaved for the bank for more than the statutory 6 months, which is the longest an employee should serve on temporal basis under Zambian labour laws. Having been initially engaged on temporal 3-month contracts, all of us without exception continued to slave away at this bank without official contract renewals – casualisation at its’ very worst. We have served for periods ranging from 2 to over 6 years, for a fixed monthly allowance of a paltry K300 & K20 for each and any category of account we sourced for the bank no matter how much business our sourced client gave to the bank.
We are especially pained that we are being made to pay a heavy price for the rampant mismanagement of this Bank which is solely for the benefit of the shareholders, the top management, especially the CEO and his inner circle, who all lord it over the majority Zambian rank and file, with the top management’s lavish perks which supports their opulent lifestyles at the expense of the majority over-worked and under paid lower rank workers, who are the ones that even do the work, because the truth is that this Bank has been mismanaged by the top cats. It is totally unfair that the same top cats who design the highly uncompetitive tariffs that made our field work extremely difficult against the more competitive and customer-friendly tariffs offered by our better remunerated and motivated colleagues from the many professionally and better managed banks are making us scapegoats by just dumping us without a second thought, nor even consideration for our well-being. The pain of losing regular income would be lessened if the so-called management treated us better by considering a severance package commensurate with our length of enslavement to this bank. Having been used to getting away with murder for so long, they saw nothing wrong in letting us go without the courtesy and preparation of notice, or even an effort to treat us more humanely as people who have no doubt contributed to the bank’s survival. We know that our Government leaders do not subscribe to the Zambian Watchdog, but as it is, the latter are the only media willing to expose the rot and exploitation in this Bank. It is common knowledge that we are not the problem here, the same top cats have been known to “approve” & give out loans (from the same deposits brought in by our effort) to their cronies, which mostly have had to be written off as “bad debts” leading to the Bank making colossal losses, and this is because the so-called Risk Department, who could curtail some of these bad loans are just there on paper. We are willing to expose the top cats who have continued giving out loans to their cronies.
It is common knowledge that none of the cowardly, pathetically exploited and intimidated so-called permanent and pensionable unionized rank and file and in name only middle management are willing to support our cause for fear of obvious victimization which is rampant in this bank, but the powers that be (read GRZ) can find a way of getting this information. Most of the unionized workers and the laughable middle management staff (in name only) are so demoralized – most of them are just there to keep body and soul together. Management’s explanation is that the Bank is not “doing well”, and yet the same bank is able to employ selected staff from better paying banks, who together with the top cats enjoy comparable, and in some cases better conditions of service to other banks that pay their lowest paid rank and file as much as twice what this Zambian bank calls “remuneration” to its rank and file. The staff turnover in this bank is so high that none of its branches has the required staff compliment – clients can vouch for us, as they are subjected to long waiting periods because most of the cashier cubicles are empty.
In professionally and better managed banks, our colleagues with similar qualifications are considered for unionized employment, depending on performance and yet even those of us who slaved for this Bank for more than three years have just been let go. If we were under performing, it was within the Bank’s rights to let us go and not this mass humiliation.
Our appeal is for the powers that be to audit this exploitative Bank and personally prove how the poor Zambian workers are being exploited by fellow Zambians, if not, they must all stop talking about the exploitation of Zambian workers by the so-called foreign investors…
Please heed our cry – clearly enough is enough!!!
(PLEASE WITH HOLD MY IDENTITY)