Employees of First Merchant Bank (FMB) are living in fear for their future as top management has introduced tough working conditions for some officers with an aim of frustrating them amid strong rumours of retrenchment.
An inside source speaking on condition of strict anonymity told Nyasa Times that under the leadership of the current Managing Director Dheeraj Dikshit and his inner circle comprising Thomas Kadantot (General Manager- Treasury and International Banking), Ravindra Bhajaja (Chief Commercial Officer) and Shwentak Singh (Chief Operating Officer), members of staff are working in fear of what will happen to their jobs.
The source says between 2010 –2014, some hard working managers were booted out of the system because the current MD wanted to replace them with his favourite boot lickers.
“The bank has been in operation for 20 years now and the thinking was that some of those top positions would have been given to Malawians but only Indians are occupying those positions to consolidate power and oppress Malawians,” he wondered.
FMB retrenched some members of staff who later challenged the move in court and won the case for unlawful retrenchment. Since losing the court case, management seems to have backtracked on its intention to retrench more but instead has introduced tough conditions on those targeted.
“The strategy now is to do their outmost to frustrate some staff members so that they resign on their own or make a mistake that will have them fired,” he said.
The source says FMB used to have the position of Retail Development Executive at branch or agency level Grade 4 but the bank now has reduced that level and position to Relief Officers in most agencies except Mzuzu, Limbe, Salima, Kasungu, Zomba, Blantyre and Lilongwe and Capital City branches.
“The grade is the same but the benefits have in some cases been entirely removed like allowances (fuel, wear and tear etc.) with the aim of frustrating those holding those positions” .
FMB opened its doors in 1995 and is one of the banks that have many branches across the nation.
Bank management did not respond to questions soliciting comment.