By Victor Ahiuma-Young
ORGANISED Labour in the banking sector has raised alarm that banks in the country are still cutting corners in spite of the recent reforms and said that the regulatory agencies are not doing enough to check un-ethical practices in the sector.
Coming under the umbrella of Association of Senior Staff of Banks, Insurance and Financial Institutions, ASSBIFI, the group lamented that despite the cry of joblessness in the country many banks are still planning to retrench workers without even following due process and regulations governing such act and argued that the crisis in the nationâ€™s banking sector today is self-inflicted.
At a round table discussion with the theme: â€œIndustrial relations in banking industryâ€, organised by Nigerian Industrial Association, NIRA, in Lagos, 1st Deputy President of ASSBIFI, Comrade Sunday Salako, said if there was any sector of the economy that had been battered in recent time, it was the banking and the financial sector, saying that employees had been battered, dehumanised, maltreated and even abused by employers and management in the sector.
According to him: â€œEvery day as we are resolving one industrial relations problem, another one will arise.
Employers in our sector are very good at cutting corners. In spite of the reforms, they are still cutting corners. Many of the banking rules, procedures and regulations are ignored.Â Today many banks are planning to retrench more workers. They are doing all sort of things without following the law.
Today employees are placed on suspension without pay even when the law says such an employee should be on half pay. There are lots of unethical practices going on in the banks. The regulatory agencies are not doing enough to check these practices. Workers rights are denied, the law of the land is disregarded and flouted without the regulatory agencies doing anything aboutâ€
â€œWe will complain to the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, and others, they would not do anything. Even the government will not do anything because in most cases, government officers are also owners of these organisations. The crisis in the nationâ€™s banking sector today is self-inflicted. It has nothing to do with global financial crisis.
It started from the 1990s when favouritism, who you know and not on merit became the basis for employment in the sector, and their craze for deposits, turned everybody to marketers. We have to revert back to the practice of old where people are employed based on merit, trained on core banking values, and where employers do the right things and regulatory agencies do their job diligentlyâ€
Also speaking, a Professor of Industrial Relations, Prof Sola Faja, lamented that despite the fact the nationâ€™s banks are marking 60 years of existence this year, they are still at the infancy stage, arguing that the effects are seen in their poor jobs creation ability, and financing of developmental projects which the entire country suffers.
According to him, There was no way the high inflation and lending rate in the country could encourage investment and also added that â€œthere is evidence of globalisation of banking servicesâ€ in the country and lamented that this practice had shut off the benefits from other specialised banking services like mortgage and a host of others.
The round table discussion attracted besides members of NIRA, Industrial relations experts from the academia, banking sector, labour leaders, Journalists on the Labour beat among others.