Old Mutual employees stage sit-in as salary is slashed

Report by Fani Mapfumo and Vanessa Mhizha

 Old Mutual Zimbabwe Limited has reduced employees’ salaries after a pay review structure forcing them to stage a sit-in demanding audience with management in Harare on Tuesday, Zim Morning Post has learnt.

The development comes barely two months after management announced that it will be implementing a voluntary retrenchment programme that will see the financial services group reduce its workforce by 10 percent.

This came as the company is restructuring its business in line with the obtaining operating environment and to maximise cost efficiencies.

Zim Morning Post can reveal that employees have already started industrial action in a bid to convince management to reverse the ill timed decision which will relegate employees to dire economic hardships.

“Old Mutual employees have staged a sit-in demanding to see the remuneration committee and the human resources management over the reduction in their salaries after a pay review structure,” said one insider who refused to be named.

This comes at a time Finance minister Mthuli Ncube announced a cushioning allowance for civil servants urging the private sector to follow suit.

“We are going to make an announcement in terms of a cushioning allowance in the next weeks and industries may you follow the suit and look after your employees, we realised companies have been making these profits and they have been taking care of  shareholders  but leaving out employees,” said Mthuli.

Efforts to get a comment from the financial giant’s management drew a blank at the time of writing.

Inflation rate continues to rise eroding salaries for most of the employees in the country and trade unionist are now demanding a rise.

Wage cut is not an easy process and an arbitrary action is a clear violation of the Labour Act Chapter 12(a) which prohibits any salary  deduction  without the consent of the employee or negotiations with a trade union or worker’ s committee.

Old Mutual’s businesses activities include life assurance, short-term insurance, property investment, and asset management.

The property portfolio has assets that span across retail, industrial, central business district offices, office parks and land.

It also owns the Central African Building Society (CABS), which is considered the third largest bank in Zimbabwe with an asset base of over US$1,2 billion.