Northern Nigerian Breaking News

NUBIFIE pickets Polaris Bank over members’ sack

The National Union of Banks, Insurance, and Financial Institutions  (NUBIFIE) on Tuesday picketed the headquarters of Polaris Bank, Victoria Island, over alleged violation of workers’ rights.

The  Secretary-General,  Mr Mohammed Sheikh, accused the bank management of sacking workers without following due process required by  labour law.

“We are here today to express our grievance against the new management of Polaris Bank, this grievance of ours is bordering on the violation of workers’ rights.

“The new management came on board barely six months ago and instead of settling down to look at how to move the bank forward, in their thinking, moving the bank forward, or growing it, is by sacking workers.

“So the first agenda, the management decided was to start laying off people; but it is not the laying off of people in itself that is the issue.

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“The issue is the fact that it is carrying out those exercises in gross violation of the right of workers to a collectively bargained exit package,“ he said.

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Sheikh said that about 40 staff members, including cleaners and security men were laid off.

According to him, many of the workers who have put in between five years and 20 years of service with the bank are being give one month in lieu of notice as an exit package.

“So, we frown at that because we are all bound by the laws that are there; we are here to protest against the inhuman treatment that this new management meted out to workers via the unilateral sacking of workers who have dedicated their lives, and put in their services.

“We wrote to them, even before the sacking because we got the information; we, however, told them to be mindful of due process if they are planning to sack.

“However,  there was no response, and acknowledgement,“ he said.

Sheikh said that the picketing was just a warning strike to the management for it to follow due process.

He said, however, if management refused to comply, the union would continue to picket the office together with the national body of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC).

“NLC is aware of what is going on; members will be joining us if there is no headway; our civil society coalition partners are also aware, they are waiting in the wings to join us.

“The bank management has violated workers’ rights and we are here to protest that violation; and until they rectify  it, we are going to continue picketing them,“ he said.

In its response,  the management handed a letter to Sheikh,  signalling readiness to dialogue to resolve the issues raised.

The letter titled, “Re: Unilateral  Disengagement of Workers” was signed by the bank’s Talent and Culture officer, Mr Olarenwaju Oyekunle, and General Counsel, Mr Segun Tawoju.

The letter read: “Given the cordial relationship that had existed between the Bank and the union over years, we are of the opinion that any concern from either party can be resolved through round table.

“In view of the above, we request for a meeting between the management team of the bank and a delegation of NUBIFIE on June 7, 2023 by 10.00 a.m. at our office to discuss outstanding issues with the view to having a resolution while requesting you recall your members from our business locations.” (NAN)

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