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CBZ threatens job cuts

by Staff reporter
27 Apr 2021 at 08:13hrs | Views
FINANCIAL services giant CBZ Holdings Limited has resolved to slash its workforce in response to rapid sector changes that have been precipitated by the COVID-19 pandemic and fresh inroads made by digitalisation since the global scourge rattled the markets last year.

COVID-19 only amplified a crisis that had haunted unions since banks scaled up a well-meant financial inclusion strategy about five years ago, which meant they switched to digital platforms to serve clients, eliminating a decades-old physical contact tradition.

Yet as governments rolled out hard lockdowns to fight the pandemic, which forced banks to make staff work from home, it provided them with a chance to rationalise costs by pursuing digitalisation in the post-lockdown era.

In his letter to staff on Friday, CBZ chief executive officer Blessing Mudavanhu did not disclose the extent to which COVID-19 and digitalisation had reshaped the bank's operations.

But he invited them to take up a voluntary retrenchment package. Should there be a lukewarm response to the offer, Zimbabwe's biggest banking group will then roll out compulsory job cuts from June, in one of the most shocking banking sector developments since COVID-19 hit Zimbabwe. He said CBZ had discovered that as the pandemic forced its way through, new skills had become crucial to move the banking group forward.

But those who were unwilling to embrace new business models being implemented were free to leave, he said.

The Zimbabwe Banks and Allied Workers Union told NewsDay Business yesterday that CBZ's move could only be a tip of the iceberg as a number of banks were already implementing the same strategy.

"It has been essential to us as an organisation to ensure the preservation of jobs and earnings and we have committed to that for the duration of this crisis and furthermore, provided a range of additional measures to ensure that we support all of our staff and your families," Mudavanhu told staff.

"The manner in which we reach, serve and provide solutions to our customers and clients has changed significantly. Most of our work has transitioned to digital platforms and automation has become key. This is an area which will continue to change and with this comes the need for new business models and different skill-sets."

"As we venture into a new and changing business model and new ways of work, we will inevitably need to review our current structure and operations. We acknowledge that there are some colleagues among us who may not be willing or able to undertake this journey of change and will want to take the opportunity to pursue other interests. We are, therefore, pleased to announce the offer of a voluntary severance package for any employee who willingly, freely and voluntarily wishes to consider pursuing opportunities outside the organisation. Following the voluntary severance exercise, should it be found that we do, indeed, need to consider retrenchment, our retrenchment exercise will commence in June 2021," he said.

Telecommunications giant TelOne has announced plans to axe about 200 workers.

"The TelOne digital transformation journey which has special focus on client experience enhancement and provision of new products and services entails the digitalisation of the company's operations and systems through network upgrade and modernisation," TelOne said.

"For this drive to succeed, relevant skills and qualifications emerged as one of the main priorities. Consequently, the company has taken a position to embark on a realignment programme to terminate the contracts of 184 individuals whose skills-set has been rendered redundant."

Source - newsday

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