Institute of People Management Malawi (IPMM), a professional grouping of human resources practitioners, has backed FDH Financial Holdings Limited, new majority shareholder in previously wholly State-owned Malawi Savings Bank (MSB), for not giving the bank’s employees terminal benefits upon takeover.
IPMM president Chrispin Chikwama gave the position when he called on Tuesday in reaction to a story carried in The Nation edition of September 1 2015 in which FDH Financial Holdings Limited chief executive officer (CEO) Thom Mpinganjira said MSB employees would not get new contracts.
Mpinganjira’s position was, however, faulted by human resource management expert, Jallison Chaguluka, who, ironically, is IPMM executive director, but granted The Nation the interview in his personal capacity.
Chaguluka argued that MSB employees were entitled to get their benefits and start afresh with FDH Financial Holdings Limited.
But Chikwama said Mpinganjira was right on MSB staff’s fate regarding their contracts.
Said Chikwama: “He [Mpinganjira] was right in the sense that FDH Financial Holdings Limited just acquired majority shareholding in MSB. As long as the employees’ contracts are intact, then they [employees] have no valid claim.”
In a letter dated March 13 2015 addressed to MSB CEO Ian Bonongwe and copied to a number of institutions, MSB employees expressed concern over lack of consultation in the bank’s sale.
“We, as members of staff, are expected to be involved and updated on every step that pertains to the process of the sale. As a matter of fact, we were supposed to be consulted as employees to give our views as to whether the sale is ideal or not,” read part of the letter.
But Chikwama said the employees had no business in the process as government was not under obligation to involve them in the discussion with FDH Financial Holdings Limited.
Last month, FDH Bank managing director Phillip Madinga said in the next 18 to 24 months, MSB would continue to operate separately from FDH Bank before the two are integrated into one bank.
However, Chikwama said if the integration displeases some MSB staff, they will be within their rights to ask for termination of the contracts and be paid off accordingly.
In July this year, FDH Financial Holdings Limited took over a 75 percent stake in MSB after emerging the sole bidder.