By Victor Ahiuma-Young
EVEN as Federal Government is meeting with the Central Bank of Nigeria,CBN, banksâ€™ executives and organised labour tomorrow over the wave of retrenchments and the threat by labour to disrupt operations of banks, Oceanic International Bank has sacked another batch ofÂ 950 workers.
The latest sack affected 500 workers employed under the subsidiaries of the bank namely OSIL and VLA while the remaining 450 are core staff of the bank comprising bulk tellers, drivers and those in the e-business unit as well as other departments..
The bank management had three weeks ago sacked over 1,500 workers in line with alleged directive by CBN that banks, especially the troubled ones, should reduce their workforce by 30 per cent as a part of cost cutting measures
Vanguard gathered thatÂ the management of the bank with a workforce of over 7,000 staff is contemplating shelving about half of the workers nationwide, a decision that entails closing down 30 per cent of the bankâ€™s about 420 branches nationwide.
Also, some of the departments, it was revealed, are to be rationalisation. For instance, the management is said to be considering merging the Corporate Affairs and Brand Communication departments to become Corporate Communication.
Impeccable sources confirmed to Vanguard that more than half of the sacked workers have received their letters especially those in headquarters and those in branches not too far to Lagos as the letters are conveyed through DHL courier services.
The sources explained that before an affected staff receives the sack letter, the first indication that a such staff has been â€˜separatedâ€™ as used in the sacked letters is that he would have no access into the bankâ€™s intra mail services as he or she is disconnected from the electronic intra mail services, thus making it difficult to log in.
It was learnt that the 1,500 earlier retrenched are yet to get their separation benefits as promised them in their letter of disengagement. gathered that some of the separated workers have been making enquiries on why their entitlements are yet to pay into their account as assured but with no avail.
SourcesÂ indicated that the delay in the payment of the severance pay for the sacked workers might not be unconnected with the staff rationalization exercise which is still on going as well as the decision to slash the take home pay of the remaining workers by 30 percent.
The salary reduction is expected to take effect this January.
All attempts to obtain official comments on the development proved abortive as the bank presently has no official spokesperson.
Virtually all staff of the bankâ€™s Corporate Affairs Department have been sacked including the head, in the first round of the sack exercise in December 2009.
Efforts made to speak to one of the staff in the department on phone proved abortive as a voice from the office claimed there is no one to speak to the matter officially.