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Disengaged Workers: Ecobank Paid Peanuts As Benefits To Loyal Staff

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Over 900 workers who were laid off work by Ecobank Nigeria, yesterday disrupted services at the headquarters of the bank in Victoria Island as they refused to meet with top management of the bank in the absence of its chief executive, Patrick Akinwuntan.

“We suffered for that bank. Sometimes, we worked during weekends. My husband would complain and I would say, ‘I have to go, we don’t have another job’. Sometimes, I got back home by 10pm. We used our money to buy envelopes for customers. I spent all my youthful age with you. I am not saying you should not sack me; of course, I am not going to die in Ecobank but please pay me,” those were the exact words of a former member of staff of Ecobank affected by the recent downsizing, according to The Cable reports.

The Newspaper reports that some of the affected workers have accused the bank of not complying with the terms of disengagement and also slashing their severance package. Ecobank had earlier denied this in a statement, saying only contract staff were dismissed and that it was not under any obligation to renew their contracts which was due to expire July 31.

The bank said it had already made “payment of contract cessation packages of over half a billion naira” to the outsourcing firms which employed the contract staff but some of the people affected told TheCable over 300 permanent staff have been sacked in 2019 alone.

A former official of the bank, who simply identified himself as Ayodele, told TheCbale that the company had sacked workers on three different occasions in 2019. He said over 2000 workers, both permanent and contract staff were laid off in January, May and July.

Ayodele said he was employed on permanent basis and worked for the bank for 13 years until he was sacked on May 17. He alleged that the bank laid off over 350 permanent members of staff in a bid to avoid promoting them.

“The bank has been claiming that they sacked only the contract staff whose contract ended, that is not true. Between January 1 and today, the bank has conducted three sack exercises,” Ayodele said.

“The first one was in January; they laid off people that they claimed have stayed beyond 10 years on a grade, that is the people that the bank refused to promote. They said that they have stayed beyond 10 years and that means those persons have not been performing.

“Nearly 1000 workers were retrenched in January, people who fell into the category of staying beyond 10 years on a grade were affected. They were paid a certain amount, I can say those ones were paid. It will be a lie to say that they were not paid. Then, another set of people were sacked on May 17 that is the category I belong to. Those ones were over 350, they were not paid what was due to them.

“They quickly brought the Association of Senior Staff of Banks, Insurance and allied Financial Institutions (ASSBIFI) president, Ecobank chapter, to send a mail to the entire bank, that was like four days to the time that they were to sack us. We were not pre-informed. I was a permanent employee of Ecobank and it is ASSIBIFI that controls permanent employee union.

“The one that happened last week Friday affected mainly tellers. Like in Ikorodu branch, out of 18 tellers, they sacked 17. They then recruited another set of 13 contract staff without experience.

“I worked for 13 years and wasn’t promoted for nine years and that seems to be the story of many of those affected. I was last promoted in January 2011. I was due for promotion when I was sacked. In fact, I was supposed to be among those promoted last year.”

Adapted from TheCable Reports

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