By Victor Ahiuma-Young
ORGANISED Labour in the nationâ€™s banking industry, yesterday,Â expressed concerns over the wave of retrenchments in the banks since the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) under Alhaji Lamido Sanusi began a fresh reforms in the banking sector, with Union Bank of Nigeria (UBN) allegedly planning a massive retrenchment exercise.
Under the umbrella of Association of Senior Staff of Banks, Insurance and Financial Institutions (ASSBIFI), the union said it was going to write a strong worded letter to the CBN governor over the alleged increasing victimisation of innocent workers by the banksâ€™ managements especially the CBN appointed ones.
Addressing journalists, Acting President of ASSBIFI, Comrade Sunday Salako, threatened that organised Labour was also planning to confront and picket the banks involved, beginning with the Union Bank of Nigeria.
But a management staff from Union Bank said the bank was restructuring and that it had been discussing with the union on the issue, stressing that both parties were working to resolve the issue amicably.
The management staff who spoke on condition of anonymity, assured that at the end of the discussion, those that would be affected would smile home handsomely.
Comrade Salako saidÂ the management of the bank had remained adamant in spite of entreaties to make them pay the benefits of those earlier retrenched.
He said: â€œWe have just received a signed pathetic petition from over 1,000 employees of the bank who were illegally and unjustly retrenched in batches in 2006, 2007 and 2008. And also some that are not on this issue.
â€œWe also heard that many other employees are about facing the same injustice. We are not happy that redundancy and other terminal benefits contained in our collective agreement are not paid till date,â€ he said.
The acting president blamed the crisis on alleged un-cooperative efforts of the branch unit of ASSBIFI in Union Bank.
According to him, some of the retrenched workers said they were not aware that a union exists in the bank because their problems were handled without solution by the State Ministry of Labour and Office of the Public Defender.
He assured that letters would be written to the new management of the bank and expressed the hope that they would listen to the plea of the workers and pay their benefits.
He urged workers who were not affected to seek genuine leadership in the bank for their interest and welfare.
Comrade Salako posited that the association would write a strong worded petition to the CBN governor over the increasing unfair practices and victimisation of workers the banks managements especially those that public money had been used to bail the out.