•Over 700 bankers, others sacked, more to go

By Victor Ahiuma-Young

THE issue of performance or productivity based retrenchment of workers has become controversial in the nation’s Industrial relations as the standard of measurement is fast becoming subjective and an instrument of witch-hunt by some privileged individuals.

Some concerned groups and individuals are querying performance based retrenchment of workers.

Among the groups is the Organised Labour under the aegis of the Association of Senior Staff of Banks, Insurance and Financial Institutions, ASSBIFI.

President of ASSIBIFI, Oyinkan  Olasanoye, who spoke on this, said no worker in the financial sector can be retrenched based on performance.

According to her, “Over the years we have not been able to review our collective agreement. The last collective agreement was reviewed in 2007. Then, we did not know socio-economic issues in Nigeria would degenerate ill end this way so we did not put into consideration that members can be asked to go based on performance,  but now we have been meeting with management telling them that performance has become an ingredient of redundancy. If you follow the definition of redundancy we know that it is when there is excessive manpower. But now gradually management are letting people go based on performance and we have been able to argue it and prove it and insist on it that performance has become an ingredient of redundancy. So, no worker in the financial sector can be asked to go based on performance. Where we can’t have total benefit of redundancy, we have a percentage that is above average of it. That is what we are implementing in the sector.

“Financial years of most banks run between January and December period. You cannot just be asked to go (sacked) based on performance for one year. It must be at least three years of consecutive low performance for us as ASSBIFI accept such. I cannot be working with you and I performed very well in the last one or two years and suddenly, this year, may be because of COVID-19, or we have to shut down most of the branches, and there has been restriction of movement for some months as well as the effect of inflation and others, there is no performance; somebody will say base on that, I must be retrenched.

“As organized labour we do not accept one year based performance for retrenchment. It must be three consecutive low performances and such a worker will not just go like that empty handed. At least, a proportion, we go up to 70 percent. Between January and now, about four banks have reached out us over redundancies. We have concluded on four. We have two outstanding because the terms of redundancies are not acceptable to us, and we still in discussion with them.

Vanguard gathered however, that close to 700 workers were affected by the retrenchment in the financial sectors involving banks and Insurance companies.

According to Vanguard checks, the affected workers were paid their entitlements after agreement between the affected institutions and organized labour in the sector.

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