Labour raises alarm over mass retrenchment in banks

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BY VICTOR AHIUMA-YOUNG

LAGOS – WORKERS in the banking sector have raised alarm over ongoing mass retrenchment in the sector, saying no fewer than 9,000 workers have been retrenched in the last 12 months.

Under the umbrella of the Association of Senior Staff of Banks, Insurance and Financial Institutions, ASSBIFI, labour named five new generation banks as alleged major culprits and lamented that the affected workers were disengaged without recourse to the subsisting procedural agreement.

In a statement by Emeka Ogene and Obukese Orere, ASSBIFI vowed that  the full weight of labour movement would be brought against the banks should they continue to sack workers indiscriminately and fail to follow due process  by meeting with organised labour to negotiate the full benefits of the already retrenched workers.

Giving detail of the retrenchment, Orere said: “It is mind bugling and the process sadly has not stopped. In the last 12 months, the banks have disengaged over 9,000 workers.

“It is a serious issue and organised labour will be forced to bring its full weight on the affected banks should they fail to meet with labour to discuss full payment of benefits to the affected workers in accordance with the industry’s procedural agreement.”

According to the statement, “if the job loss in the finance industry between 2004 and 2008 was disturbing, the loss of jobs between 2009 and now is colossal.

“It is worthy of note that while the NDIC was set up to insure only depositors in the banks, no institution has been set up to take care of the workers in these organisations.

“This loophole is now being capitalised upon by the CBN and the management of these various institutions, in their policies to arbitrarily terminate the appointments of their workers.

“Managements of banks are hereby called upon to respect the sanctity of the collective agreement as it affects redundancy and engage the national unions in dialogue. We hereby call on the managements of the banks that have recently disengaged their staff, to urgently engage the national unions in the sector for proper negotiation and urgent settlement of the full entitlements of their disengaged staff.”

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