By BUUMBA CHIMBULU
ABSA Bank Zambia did not implement any redundancy programme during the transition from Barclays Bank despite the challenging economic environment and all employees have valid contracts.
This is according to Absa Bank Zambia Head marketing and Corporate Relations, Mato Shimabale.
Mr Shimabale explained that the transition from Barclays Bank Zambia Plc to Absa Bank Zambia Plc was treated by law as a name change because the bank remained a going concern.
He said this in a press query yesterday, this meant that the Bank would continue to operate as normal for the foreseeable future.
“This also entails that all obligations including benefits accrued by employees for the years served under Barclays, have transferred to Absa who will honour those payments as and when they are due,” Mr Shimabale said.
He was responding to an article from Zambia Reports, an online publication, which said over 520 Absa Bank employees were working without contracts after the institution changed its brand from Barclays Bank.
According to the report, Absa Bank Managing Director, Mizinga Melu, was reluctant” to trigger speedy settlement of redundancy packages to former Barclays Bank employees now working under the newly launched Absa Bank Limited.
But, Mr Shimabale said all Absa Bank Zambia employees had valid contracts of employment in full compliance with prevailing Zambian labour laws.
Mr Shimabale explained that the Collective Agreement had not changed since the conclusion of the 2019 bargaining unit contrary to assertions that conditions of service for the unionised employees had changed because of the transition.
“Absa Bank Zambia refutes these reports. The management conditions of service reviewed in 2019 were to comply with the Employment Code of 2019 and as part of a standard review conducted frequently to align to market, business and governance requirements. There were no changes implemented without the consent of the employees,” he said.
The transition from Barclays to Absa, he said, was in full compliance with the laws of Zambia and approval obtained from all regulatory bodies and key stakeholders.
Mr Shimabale said these included the Bank of Zambia, Patents and Companies Registration Agency and the Ministry of Labour.
“There are no further changes planned outside of the bargaining unit between management and the Zambia Union of Financial Institutions and Allied Workers (ZUFIAW). We pride ourselves as being a responsible employer.
“The bank did not implement any redundancy programme during the transition to Absa despite the challenging economic environment,” he said.
By BUUMBA CHIMBULU