By Victor Ahiuma-Young
Management of Union Bank of Nigeria, UBN, Plc, yesterday said its domestic branch of Association of Senior Staff of Banks, Insurance and Financial Institutions, ASSBIFI, affiliated Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, and Union Bank Association of Senior Staff, UBASS, were not proscribed, but merely de-recognised because they were not registered trade unions in accordance with the law.

The Group Managing Director and Chief Executive of the bank, Mrs. Funke Osibodu, who spoke to labour correspondents, explained that once the unions were registered, the bank would automatically accord them the due recongnition, saying, the bank had no powers to proscribe.

According to her, the action of the bank was not about anti-union posture, but to follow due process and the law, stressing that if it were so, the National Union of Banks, Insurance and Financial Instructions Employees, NUBIFIE, would not be functioning in the bank.

Clarifying  issues, Mrs Osibodu explained that it became imperative for the bank, in furtherance of its responsibility as a law abiding corporate citizen, to desist from recognising the ASSBIFI-NLC that had existed and operated in the bank after discovering that it was not lawfully registered.

According to her, “the bank discovered that the only registered union by the Federal Ministry of Labour and Productivity to organise all senior employees of banks, insurance and financial institutions in Nigeria is the ASSBIFI, affiliated to the Trade Union Congress, TUC.”

On dismissed staff

On the 13 staff that were dismissed recently by the bank, the GMD noted that contrary to speculations and allegations that they were dismissed for union activities, the staff were actually dismissed because they committed acts that were unethical to the banking profession, and that the offence bothers on breech of confidentiality of the bank.

Fielding questions from journalists on the ultimatum given the bank by the NLC to reverse its stand or face industrial action from next week Monday, Osibodu informed that it had nothing against NLC and that even the congress will not support illegality and unlawfulness.

The management of the bank requested for a meeting with the Minister of Labour and that the meeting has been scheduled for next week.

Mrs. Osibodu explained that if the workers come together under a registered and legally recognized union, the management of the bank is ready and willing to relate and identify with them.

While stressing due process was followed in the dismissal of 13 staff, she challenged the dismissed staff to appeal against their dismissal if they thought otherwise.

She added “the bank remains committed to peaceful and harmonious industrial relations and still maintains good working relationship with the trade union of the junior staff (NUBIFIE) which is duly registered and an affiliate of the NLC.

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