Bankers Threaten Protest Over Undue Sacking Of Colleagues

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The Association of Senior Staff of Banks, Insurance, and Financial Institutions, ASSBIFI, has threatened to deploy all its networks and contacts to mobilise affiliate trade unions and Nigerian workers against the management of Heritage Bank Plc., over the un-procedural sack of members.

A senior official of the bank, who spoke on condition of anonymity, simply said: “I do not want to talk about the issue

However, at a briefing, as part of its activities marking the World Decent Work Day, recalled that since May 30 members of the union, including an official, were sacked by the bank without benefits or any reason

President of ASSBIFI, Olusoji Oluwole, lamented the frustration of ASSBIFI trying to amicably settle the myriad of unfair labour practices that the management of Heritage Bank had continually perpetrated on vulnerable Nigerian workers.

Among others, he said “The Management of Heritage Bank disengaged over 30 members of ASSBIFI, including a Principal National Officer of the Association in May, 2023 without due process.

This action was condemned by ASSBIFI as an outright violation of Section 20 of the Labour Act, Cap L1, LFN 2004, the ASSBIFI Industry Wide Collective Agreement, and the ILO Convention 158 on Termination of Employment, which specifically provided that “the employment of a worker shall not be terminated unless there is a valid reason for such termination”.

This has been rightly recognized by the National Industrial Court (NIC), and we abide by it.
As the Statutory Representative of Senior Employees in the Nigeria Financial Sector, and in line with our policy on social dialogue, ASSBIFI engaged the Management of Heritage Bank on several occasions to demand justice for the vulnerable Nigerian workers’ whose employment was wrongfully terminated.

“The Management insisted on terminating the workers based on their company policy, without negotiation or dialogue with the Union as provided by law.

ASSBIFI requested the Management of the Bank to supply the Company Policy and Details of the claimed payments and settlements of the severance benefits paid to the disengaged Employees. Over three months after this request, the Management has not been able to produce its own acclaimed documents.

“The employees have severally served the bank for periods covering between five and 25 years, and without any tangible or valid reasons, Heritage Bank asked the workers to go home empty-handed. This is exploitation and injustice of the worst order.”

We are not unaware of recent publications that have put the health of the Bank into question which we had initially ignored. However, we are now forced to assume that the Management of Heritage Bank is telling the General Public that the Bank does not have the Financial Capacity to settle the entitlements of its employees

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