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Trouble In Ecobank As ‘Oceanic’ Workers Reject Sack Letters

ecobank mdMost of the sacked staff are thought to be from the former Oceanic Bank which Ecobank bought a few years ago,..and that is creating a wave of disenchantment in rank and file.,,Mainwhile,the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria and the National Union of Banks, Insurance and Financial Institutions’ Employees have vowed to resist the gale of mass sacking that banks in the country have recently embarked on.

The General Secretary, NUBIFIE, Muhammed Sheikh, said , that due process was not followed in the disengagement of the workers.

According to him, none of the banks informed the union of its intention to reduce its workforce except Ecobank Nigeria.

Diamond Bank Plc reduced its workforce by 200, while the news also emerged that Ecobank had disengaged 1,040 of its workers.

Media reports suggest 1,040 staff were affected but we believe it will be close to 1400 according to internal sources in the bank

The sack happened when, affected staffs got to work today and could not login to their various duty posts.

Most of the staff are thought to be from the former Oceanic Bank which Ecobank bought a few years ago

Commercial banks around the country have been sacking employees in the last one year as the effect of the fall in oil prices hits hard on the economy.

The combination of unemployment and underemployment rate was reported as 31.2% by the National Bureau of Statistics with over 500,000 jobs lost in Q1 alone.

Ecobank spent about N591.5 million on staff cost in 2015 compared to N649m in 2014

Sheikh explained that the bank did not engage NUBIFIE in negotiation on the benefits before sacking the workers.

He said the next line of action that the workers’ representatives would take would be communicated soon.

The NUBIFIE spokesperson said, “It is only Ecobank that has informed us and we have yet to sit down and discuss with them before we gathered that they have given the affected workers letter of disengagement. We asked the workers not to collect it.

“Other than that, none of the other banks has informed us of their intention and we are going to take appropriate steps.”

However, the General Secretary, Association of Senior Staff of Banks, Insurance and Financial Institutions, Actor Zal, denied knowledge of the disengagement of its members because none of the workers had lodged a complaint.

“We are not aware. If they report to us; then, we will take action. How can I take action on something I don’t know anything about?” he stated.

The President, TUC, Mr. Bobboi Kaigama, put the blame on the regulatory agencies for not playing their role in checking the unethical practices of operators in the financial services sector.

He said the action of banks was the contrary to the provisions of Section 20 (1) (C) of the Labour Act on the disengagement of employees from service.

Kaigama said, “The trend has been that of trading blames and sacking workers at the slightest excuse without observing due process and adhering to regulations governing such.

“Workers are treated shabbily, dehumanised, maltreated and even abused for the errors of the management. We have not failed to bring our observations in respect of these malpractices to the regulatory agencies; unfortunately, nothing is being done about it.

“The pending issues in the sector are self-inflicted and have nothing to do with global financial crisis. They started in the 1990s when money laundering became the order of the day and merit became sacrificed on the altar of favouritism and the craze for unrealistic targets.”

Kaigama urged the government to urgently correct the observed anomalies in the banking sector before they would get worse.

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