By Victor Ahiuma-Young
INDICATIONS have emerged that Organised labour is planning to disrupt activities in the banking sector in the first week of January 2010, over the recent mass retrenchment in the sector which has seen over 6,000 workers joining the saturated labour market.
Already, the National Union of Banks, Insurance And Financial Institutions Employees (NUBIFIE) has begun massive mobilisation towards the picketing which its sister Association of Senior Staff of Banks, Insurance and Financial Institutions (ASSBIFI) has long commenced mobilisation andÂ listed the erring banks to be picketed.
Vanguard investigation revealed that leaders ofÂ NUBIFIEâ€™are currently in a three day brainstormingÂ meeting to strategise on ways and means to confront theÂ banks that had in recent time engaged in mass sack of their workers without following labour regulations on redundancy.
Source at NUBIFIE said that the NAC members of the union will in the next few days perfect the strategies to adopt to picket the affected banks.
According to the source,Â â€œNUBIFIEâ€™s NAC members will in the next few days in Lagos perfect the strategies to adopt to shut banks that refused to follow labour regulations on redundancy out of business. The NAC will mapped out decisive strategies that would enable labour to surmount any pressure that may occur when the erring banks are shut out of business. Section 24 of the Trade Unionâ€™s Act, CAP 437, LFN, 1990 which affirms that unionisation of all work places, including the Commercial Banks and Insurance Companies is inevitable and incontestable.
The source lamented that the refusal of managementÂ in the banking sector to follow labour regulation on redundancy was â€œa violation of the International Labour Convention No. 87 and 98 both of which provides for Freedom of Association, the right to Organise and the right to Collective Bargaining domesticated in Nigeriaâ€
â€œThis also is an infringement of the provision of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 and the Trade Union Act CAP 433, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 1990â€ the source claimed
It would be recalled that the Federal Government on Tuesday December 29 in Abuja declared that the mass retrenchment of staff by management and operators of banks in the country is not legal, saying it is being executed outside the ambits of the law.â€
It could be recalled that Minister of Labour and Productivity, Prince Adetokunbo Kayode,Â while speaking with newsmen in his office recently,Â said â€œSince the banks are licensed by the Federal Government, they are subject to Nigeria labour laws, even though they are in the private sectorÂ and so cannot operate as they wish thus making the current the mass retrenchment exercise illegal.
We directed that all banks should stay action until the government takes a decision on it. We were at the villa for a meeting on Monday, but it has been adjourned till January 5. Even if the banks have problems, they should realise that problems are currently in every sector and everybody is just managing. They should be patient and allow government to look at this issue holistically,