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Police ban march
Financial Gazette (Zimbabwe)
May 24, 2007

POLICE have banned a planned protest by bank employees, saying they feared unruly elements would hijack the protest and cause mayhem in the capital.

This immediately sparked a go-slow at POSB yesterday. Reports swirled in the market a crippling strike could take place in the sector soon. Bank workers had sought permission to stage work protests against their employers for refusing to award them 165 percent salary increments.

An independent arbitrator determined the increments for the bank employees. The increment would have raised the minimum income for bank workers to $626 725, from $86 000.

The workers, who are affiliated to the Zimbabwe Banks and Allied Workers Union (ZIBAWU), also won the right to bi-monthly transport and housing allowance reviews. However, the Banking Employers Association of Zimbabwe, which represents the banking institutions, refused to implement the judgment by the arbitrator, forcing ZIBAWU into mobilising its members for the planned protest.

Police wrote in a letter to ZIBAWU last week signed by officer commanding the Harare central district, I.M Tayengwa:

"For security reasons, your application has not been approved. Unruly elements are highly likely to join your march and create chaos for them to loot . . . and destroy property and buildings."

Last year bank employees staged a crippling work boycott, which paralysed operations at the country's financial institutions. Police had to intervene at some banks after the job boycotts became riotous.

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