ASSBIFI may picket Heritage Bank over staff disengagements without due processes

Pix shows the National President of the Association of Senior Staff of Banks, Insurance and Financial Institutions, ASSBIFI, Comrade Oluwole briefing the press, along with other senior officers of the Association over the weekend. 

By Sylva Emeka-Okereke, JP, Publisher.

This is not the best of times, for the nation’s banking industry.

A gale of staff disengagements has hit the sector, with the latest one coming from the once-strong Heritage Bank.

This is coming on the heels of the much-touted strong capital base of virtually all the Nigerian banks.

Heritage Bank had recently disengaged over 30 staff, including some members of ASSBIFI, thus daring the members of the Association.

The leadership of the Association said, unless urgent steps were taken to assuage its members, the operations of Heritage Bank might be disrupted in no distant time.

President of ASSBIFI, Comrade Adesoji Oluwole over the weekend expressed displeasure over the disengagement of some staff by Heritage bank without due consultations and adequate payments to those affected.

Pix shows the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Heritage Bank, Mr Akinola George-Tailor

While condemning the action, Oluwole noted that, such sack violates Section 20 of the Labour Act, Cap L1, LFN 2004, on collective agreement, which specifically provided that employment of workers shall not be terminated, unless there is a valid reason for such termination.

“This has been rightly recognised by the National Industrial Court, NIC, and we must abide by it”, he stated.

He noted however, that the provision of such law has made the Association to request that the bank should furnish them with the company’s policies as well as the details of their claims on settlements of severance benefits to the disengaged workers.

ASSBIFI boss however noted with displeasure that since three months after the request, the management of the bank is yet to update them on that, warning that, if the bank fails to resolve the issue before a given period of time, the Association would not have any other option, than to picket the bank to either rescinds its decision or pay all the entitled severance packages for the sacked workers.

Heritage Bank had few weeks ago, sacked over 30 staff, including a principal national officer of the Association.

It would be noted that Heritage Bank is not the only one in this act. On May 31, 2023, Polaris Bank located at Number 3, Akin Adesola street, Victoria Island, Lagos, also retrenched over 40 staff without due processes.

ASSBIFI had protested with placards at the head office, but after such protest, nothing tangible came out of it and the situation remains same, perhaps prompting Heritage to toe same line.

Efforts made to get the side of Heritage Bank to speak on this proved abortive, as the Head of Corporate Affairs, who promised to get back to SylvaNews for their side of the story, could not call back, as at the time of this report.

Even the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Heritage Bank, Akinola George-Taylor, who joined the bank on Acting Capacity on September 12, 2022 has not made any public statement on the sack.

George-Taylor succeeded Mr Ifie Sekibo, as MD/CEO, following CBN approval, aimed at implementing the next phase of transformation of the bank.

ASSBIFI President had during this year’s “World Day for Decent Work Celebrations” in Lagos demanded for a review of 2004 Labour Laws, disclosing that, it has become obsolete and does not protect the interest of workers any more.

According to him, Section 12, Subsection 4 of the Law is negatively exploited by the employers of labour and needs urgent review.

The Resource Person, who delivered his lecture on “Pay Rise, a Necessity for Decent Standard of Living” during the celebrations, Mr Bayo Owolabi however noted that while the rich demands for better environment, the poor like Nigerian workers demand for pay rise, even as it was generally noted that the rise in pay package can lead to high rate of inflation in the country.

 

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