BY UDEME CLEMENT
The refusal by the House of Representatives to debate on the issue of massive job losses in the banking sector of the economy is generating so much controversy in the country.
One of those who gave his opinion about this controversy is an ex- officio member, Association of Senior Staff of Banks Insurance and financial institutions (ASSBIFI), Afribank unit, Otio Nathaniel, who told Sunday Vanguard that the decision taken by the House was a wrong signal and not in the best interest of the masses who elected them.
Nathaniel who expressed displeasure over the manner in which the issue was handled stressed, â€œthe legislators who ought to protect the people are not doing the right thing. The decision of the Lower House was really unfortunate, meaning that, they are giving the managements of those banks the go ahead to retrench more workers. We must realise the fact that there is dignity in labour, so Nigerian workers must be given all their entitlementsâ€.
He added, â€œwhile some new generation banks did not allow their staff to unionise, banks that are unionised did not allow the in-house unions to carry the national secretariat along in their activities, therefore making the effort of Labour leaders who are trying to ensure adequate compensation for the affected workers difficult.Â The whole thing is the prize each staff who refused to join the union must payâ€.
On the way forward, he said, â€œindustrial action is not the solution. In that case, the union must be proactive about the issue to in order to achieve positive result.Â At present, the union is still seeking audience with banks to ensure that retrenched workers are fully paidâ€.
He said, â€œjob losses in the banking sector has serious economic implications because the rate of unemployment in the country would increase, there would be more armed robbers because these people must survive with their families and other dependants. So, we are going to experience high level of insecurity in the country, and this would automatically reduce investment opportunities because no foreign investor wants to put his money in an economy that is not stableâ€.
Sunday Vanguard gathered that while the union is trying to protect the interest of it members, the World Bank believes that the recent shake-up in the banking sector by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) was a pragmatic step to ensure transparency in the system to enhance economic growth and development.
Some industry players are of the opinion that CBN is the monetary authority in the country and the governor, Lamido Sanusi, is empowered to check fraudulent activities in the financial institutions, in order to restore sanity to the system and save the entire economy from sudden collapse.