James Ojo, Abuja
As controversy rages over plans by management of First Bank Plc to sack over 1000 of its core staff, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has called for an immediate suspension of the exercise.
In a letter dated November 25, 2019 to the bank’s managing director, Labour urged the management to open genuine engagement with its affiliate, the National Union of Banks, Insurance and Financial Institutions Employees (NUBIFIE) for amicable resolution of the matter. Failure to resolve the matter by giving due consideration to its demands, the NLC stated that it would be left with no other option than to adopt time tested trade union measures to protect the interest and welfare of workers in bank.
The letter reads in parts: It has been brought to our attention by one of our affiliate unions, NUBIFIE that First Bank of Nigeria PLC plans to embark on a mass retrenchment of over one thousand members of its staff.
“We write to draw your attention to the fact that any such exercise must be done in line with the provisions of the Labour Act guiding Redundancy Exercise.
“It is disheartening that the mass retrenchment billed for the end of November 2019 targets workers whose ages range between 35 and 55 years and who have put in an average of 5 years in the services of First Bank Nigeria PLC. We also understand that the workers being listed for this unjust, and inhumane treatment by your bank have been categorised as “outsourced workers.
“Dear MD, apart from the non-recognition of “outsourced” labour by Nigeria’s labour laws, it is extremely tortuous to imagine that First Bank with an enabling banking license could boldly assert that its workers are the responsibility of an entity not licensed to operate as a bank.
“As a matter of fact, what our laws recognise and what is extensively provided in Section 7 and 11 of Nigeria’s Labour Act is that employers are required within three (3) months of engagement of an employee to give the employee a written contract of employment which must specify among other things a description of the parties to the contract of employment, the nature of the services (s) to be rendered, the tenure of the contract, remunerations which must be paid, hours of work, the period of notice to be served before the contract can be terminated and possible grounds for the termination of an employee’s contract.