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FBN continues hide and seek approach over veiled move to sack workers

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Though it has halted planned distribution of letters of disengagements to its workers penciled down for sack following moves by the Ministry of Labour and Productivity and most importantly, threats by the National Union of Banks, Insurance and Financial Institutions Employees (NUBIFIE) to shutdown the bank’s operations.

NUBIFIE it would shut down all First Bank operations nationwide should the management put paid to the planned retrenchment over 1000 workers across board.

However, as the union has directed its members not to accept any disengagement letters from the bank without authorisation by it.

In an interview on Thursday, President of NUBIFIE, Mr Tony Abakpa, said any bank, no matter how it prizes itself must carry out its operations in line with extant labour laws and relevant due processes especially in downsizing workforce.

According to him, should First Bank of Nigeria (FBN) Plc, goes ahead with the unilateral sack, the union would force the bank to respect labour laws, by adhering to laid down guidelines to negotiate good severance packages before sacking workers.

He said “We believe in dialogue and collective bargaining agreement. Any action alien to labour law will be unacceptable because we will not support plans that are not in the interest of workers.

Abakpa revealed that the union has already alerted the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Ministry of Labour and Employment, on the bank’s plan and the actions it would be taking to counter the planned sack if FBN fails to follow due process.

On the outcome of the meeting with the Ministry on Thursday, parties to the dispute maintained silence but only assured that negotiations are ongoing.

Further checks on the plan B of NUBIFIE showed that it has already kept the sister union in the bank, the Association of Senior Staff of Banks Insurance and Financial Institutions (ASSBIFI) on notice in case of joint action against the Tier 1 bank.

Though a confident in FBN hinted that the total number of staff to be affected may not be up to the acclaimed 1,000, the bank is yet to make any form of official statement even as industry analysts say the bank want to join the bandwagon of contract staffing policy.

Experts have continued to trace series of frauds in banks to the activities of none carrier bankers who have nothing to loss because they are on contract which may or may not be renewed after.

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