By Victor Ahiuma-Young
UMBRELLA body for senior staff Â Â Â associations in the country, the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC), has vowedÂ not only to resist any attempt to make workers a scape goat in the current crisis facing the nationâ€™s banking sector, but will also move against any management that tries such.
President-General of TUC, Comrade Peter Esele, told Vanguard in a chatÂ that the body would make a representation to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to ensure that henceforth, banks operating in Nigeria, key into international best practice or standard concerning labour issues.
He also cautioned the governor of CBN against rushing to dispose off the five banks which management he recently sackedÂ saying â€œwe think the CBN should not be in a hurry to sell because one thing for sure is that the shareholders of those banks need to be aware of what is happening in the banks. Not only that, if you must sell, you need to get the consent of those shareholders.
Though it can be reasoned that because the government has injected such a huge amount of money, they automatically become a major shareholder, however, shareholdersâ€™ interestÂ must be factored and everything must be done according to the rule of law and due process which this government has been preaching.
â€œAgain, we have to look at how the CBN came about the money injected into the banks because it was not appropriated for by the legislators . Although, it could be argued that such thing can be done in an emergency situation.
If it is an emergency, the President can go ahead and discussed with the CBN on how to source the fund. But never the less, we should not take our mind off the fact that there was something structurally wrong with these banks. Since things were structurally wrong with the banks, the CBN had to intervene. But we do not accept the CBN to do anything that will breach the law of the land because that will also be sending a very dangerous signal. At all times, we expect the CBN to do what is right.â€
â€œWe have started reacting to issue of lay offs especially that of First Bank, even though they said it is a rumour. We have issued a press release and First Bank has come out because we learnt that the bank was going to lay off 450 staff. The bank has said there is no truth in that. So, we will give them the benefit of doubt and we will keep watching.
â€œLet me tell you, that any bank that sacks workers over this issue, will definitely incur our wrath. We will not only resist it, but will move against such management because these workers have not done anything. All these billions they are talking about, the workers did not collect any. In fact, these workers were abused. Ladies whether single or married became prostitutes.
They were being sent to go into marketing or source for funds that is not there. When banks were banks in the years gone by, banks were noted for being conservative.
What we used to know about banks was that once you are employed, the management look at the existing clients and then ask the employees to manage the clients to ensure that the bank retain the clients. The way you attract other clients is not by asking anybody to go and knock of peopleâ€™s doors to source for N500,000,000 three Months or get sacked. Where is that done? At the end of the day, the ladies that venerable among them would have to comprise and give themselves up for it.
What we have now is executive prostitution. All these emanated from the rot in the banks. Instead of talking of lay offs, to tell these banksâ€™ Chief Executive Officers (CEOs), the ones that are left and the ones would join should ensure that they do not only operate under good corporate governance, but also apply best practices.â€