Retrenched Trust workers offered ZABG shares

Shakeman Mugari

THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) and Trust Bank curator, Peter Bailey of KPMG Chartered Accountants, have offered retrenched Trust workers shares in the proposed Zimbabwe Allied Banking Gro

up (ZABG) in lieu of their packages, businessdigest can reveal.


This adds a new twist to the ongoing war between the curator, the central bank and employees over the packages, which have been outstanding for the past eight months.


The curator and the central bank are understood to have told the 159 workers that they would get their packages in the form of equity in ZABG, which is yet to open.


ZABG will rise out of the ashes of some six banks which shut down due to a liquidity crunch caused by imprudent banking practices, fraud and insider loans.


The RBZ announced this week that Trust, Royal and Barbican would be the first banks to be absorbed into the ZABG.


Time Bank has been left out because of its litigation against the central bank while Intermarket has been given a chance to conclude talks with a suitor interested in the group.


The fate of CFX Financial Services, closed in December last year, is still unknown.


Trust Bank owes its 159 retrechees more than $25 billion in packages. The workers were laid off early last year after the bank was hit by a serious liquidity crunch which later forced its closure.


The packages have been pending for the past eight months. The workers have not been told the value of the shares.


Collin Gwiyo, general secretary of the Zimbabwe Banks and Allied Workers’ Union (Zibawu), said the union was concerned with the welfare of the workers and the way the Trust Bank issue was being handled.


“It is true that there are developments in the Trust issue which have not been communicated to us. We are greatly concerned with what is happening,” Gwiyo said.


He said it was impossible for the workers to become shareholders in ZABG because its board did not have employee representatives.


“I met with RBZ officials recently and we told them that the ZABG board did not have employee representation which is a key component of corporate governance.”


The workers have also rejected the proposal and are now likely to drag the Reserve Bank and the curator to court over their retrenchment packages.

It also emerged this week that there were workers who had since approached the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) over the issue.


Officials from the ZLHR confirmed that some Trust employees had approached their office to seek legal advice on matters regarding their delayed packages and the curator’s proposal.


Jacob Mafume, a ZLHR official, said the organisation was still looking into the issue.


“We have had some Trust employees coming to us asking about the legal implications of the move,” Mafume said.


The Trust Bank curator had not responded to questions sent to him at the time of going to press.