Workers in the banking sector are demanding to be paid in foreign currency, as the local currency continues to lose value.
The Zimbabwe dollar has continued to weaken against the United States dollar. Last week the Zimbabwe dollar was stood at 116.65 against the greenback on the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe foreign exchange auction, a loss of 3.8272 from the rate of 1: 112.8228 when the auction opened this year on January 18.
On the parallel market, US$1 now fetches about ZWL$230, from ZWL$1700 in December 2021.
The continuous depreciation of the local currency has triggered calls by some industry players and economists for the government to dump the Zimbabwe dollar for a stable currency. Workers have also amplified their demands for salaries to be paid in a stable currency.
Zimbabwe Banks and Allied Workers Union (ZIBAWU) president Tawanda Mutemi said banks workers were not happy with the “RTGS” salaries they were getting and wanted to be paid in forex.
“Banking sector workers are not happy with the RTGS salaries that are being paid by employers. The banks in Zimbabwe do not pay workers enough yet these banks have a lot of US dollar deposits and it’s the workers who actually handle the foreign currency,” Mutemi said.
He said the employers were paying themselves in foreign currency yet they paid employers in a weaker and unstable currency.
“What is painful is that the banks management are paying themselves in American dollars and do not consider their workers.”
Mutemi said the workers wanted to be paid at least US$900 per month, taking from the 2018 salary structure.
Despite the banking sector continuing to shed jobs under the pressure of new digital technologies and macro-economic stresses, the latest figures from the central bank showed that the sector recorded an increase in profit.
According to the latest monetary policy statement from central bank chief Dr. John Mangudya, unaudited profits grew 69.63 per cent in 2021 compared to the prior year.
“For the year ended 31 December 2021, the banking sector reported an unaudited aggregate profit of $59.29 billion, an increase of 69.63% from a profit of $34.95 billion reported for the corresponding period in 2020,” said the statement.
According to Dr. Mangudya, the average prudential liquidity ratio was more than double the minimum regulatory requirement of 30 percent, standing at 64.37% as at 31 December 2021.