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FNB in salary talks with union


While Nedbank staff is engaged in a crippling strike that enters its fourth week, the First National Bank is engaged in serious talks with the Swaziland Union of Financial Institutions and Allied Workers Union (SUFIAW) to prevent a similar situation.
FNB employees are also engaged in negotiations  with their employer , they are  seeking a cost of living adjustment in the region of that that is demanded by Nedbank staff.
According to sources, the union wants 10 per cent as the cost of living, while the bank is offering a lower percentage.
 living adjustment
The Sunday Observer understands that in principle members of the same sector’s demands should be comparable. 
The Sunday Observer understands that other banks may join in solidarity with Nedbank staff and take part in the strike at designated times to be scheduled by the union. 
SUFIAW secretary Jabu Shiba confirmed that the First National Bank employees and their employer are also in negotiations for a cost of living adjustment.
She said that banks have told the union that they are not able to meet employee demands due to the effects of the Regulation of Banking Fees and Charges Notice, 2016 which pronounced that effective from July 1, 2016, banking fees and charges for cash deposit services shall be zero.
Argument
Additionally, the union argues that most of the employees still believe that the banks’ financials are still at healthy levels and they say they know this because they work with that money every day. In fact, they even allege that banks have inflated some service costs to circumvent losses from the scrapped cash deposit fees.
The Swaziland Bankers Association (SBA) said it was doing all it could to protect banking sector jobs, which it said was achieved in the past year.
“Whilst profit declines are a verifiable fact for some of our members they are not the only  basis for determining increases  as inflation is a bigger influence,” said SBA chairperson Dennis Mbingo, disputing the allegations that banks financials are still at healthy levels and that banks have inflated some service costs to circumvent losses from the scrapped cash deposit fees.
Mbingo said banks were regulated and were not allowed to make random changes in pricing without reference to the regulator. 
The association further clarified that transactional fees change every year just like other businesses and such adjustments are published for the customers and staff to understand them.
With regards to the Nedbank strike and the anticipated FNB strike, Mbingo said it is in all  the parties’ interests to find  an amicable settlement to the Nedbank situation.
“We are putting faith in the maturity and experience of the individuals around the negotiation table. I am confident that disagreements will not be informed by our individual egos and biases. At the end of the day it’s about employee welfare and the health of the businesses we all run, that should be the guiding spirit,” he said.
 However, he disclosed that there is no indication of a disagreement between FNB and the union representing the staff, stating that negotiations should have closed but have been delayed by other events outside the bank.
Mbingo added that it may be disingenuous to talk of an anticipated strike when the parties are still negotiating saying this risks undermining the negotiation process. He concluded by stating that SBA was going to engage its social partners to find ways of improving the present model as it is in the best interest of all parties and the country to do so.
“Banks do not have the same stake holders and business models vary quite widely. Attempts by SBA to have common salary negotiations could lead to behaviour that may threaten proper completion and create new risks to the banking sector and the economy that would be very difficult to manage,” he said.

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