OVER 30 employees of ABSA Bank Zambia PLC, formerly known as Barclays Bank Zambia, have appealed to the Lusaka High Court against Minister of Labour and Social Security Joyce Simukoko’s findings that they have been maintained on the old conditions of service when in fact they have been given new conditions to sign.
Jonas Matende and 31 others, being dissatisfied with the decision of the Minister given on October 14, 2020, have appealed to the High Court on five grounds; being that the Minister erred in law and in fact when she determined ABSA Bank’s appeal against the decision of the Labour Commissioner out of time as prescribed by law.
Matende and others have further stated that the Minister erred in Law and in fact when she omitted to consider evidence that the new conditions of service were general conditions applicable to all non-unionised employees without exception.
“The Honourable Minister erred in fact when she held that the information submitted by management employees did not show the alleged alteration of the Terms and Conditions of Employment when in fact the information submitted revealed the contrary,” they stated.
“The Honourable Minister erred in law and in fact when she held that redundancy is a planned activity that falls within the sole discretion of the respondent (ABSA Bank) contrary to the law on redundancy.”
This is according to a notice of appeal filed in the Lusaka High Court recently.
Matende and 31 others who have cited ABSA Bank Zambia PLC as the respondent.
In July this year, Zambia Union of Financial Institutions and Allied Workers (ZUFIAW) general secretary Msiska Chingati sued Barclays Bank Zambia and ABSA Bank Zambia in the Lusaka High Court, seeking a declaration that the unilateral and non-consensual transfer of unionised employees of Barclays Bank to the new entity, ABSA Bank, is unlawful, null and void.
Chingati also wants a declaration that the so-called name change from Barclays Bank Zambia to ABSA Bank Zambia is a sham intended to mask the real nature of the corporate transaction, being a transfer of the business undertaking from Barclays Bank Zambia to the ABSA Group Limited and therefore unlawful, null and void.
He further wants among others, a declaration that the unilateral and non-consensual transfer of the employees of Barclays Bank to ABSA Bank is a terminating event entitling the employees of Barclays Bank Zambia to payment of redundancy benefits under the applicable Collective Agreement being 4.7 months’ pay for each year served.
But ABSA Bank Zambia PLC submitted that Barclays Bank Zambia PLC and ABSA Bank Zambia were one and the same legal entity, adding that all rights and liabilities of the entity prior to the name change were not affected as a result.
It therefore asked the court to set aside the said matter for irregularity, and that in the alternative, Barclays Bank Zambia must be struck out of the proceedings as it does not exist separately from ABSA.
However, Chingati had insisted that Barclays Bank Zambia and ABSA Bank Zambia were two separate legal entities, adding that he intends to adduce evidence at trial to show that the two banks were separate.