Bearing last minutes intervention by the Federal Government, workers in the nation’s banking sector at the weekend threatened to ground all banking operations nationwide begining from January 2, 2020.
The Association of Senior Staff of Banks, Insurance and Financial Institutions (ASSBIFI) and its counterpart, the National Union of Banks Insurance and Financial Institutions (NUBIFIE) told newmen at the weekend that workers in the sector would embark on an indefinite strike over failure of their employers to review the Collective Bargaining Agreement in line with extant law. Speaking at the ASSBIFI 10th Triennial National Delegates Conference held at the NAF Conference Centre, Abuja, the President of the union, Oyinkansola Olasanoye said there has been a deliberate disrespect of Human Rights by some of the employers (Banks) contrary to the provision of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) anchored principle three of Nigeria sustainable banking principles (July 2012).
“We have been stretched beyond limit and we are by this meeting informing our employers and the Federal Government that if they employers in the banks fail to come to the negotiating table as we have written them, by January 2, 2020 the two unions in the sector will shut down operations,” she stated. She lamented that despite the fact that the union as a reasonable trade union has continued to use dialogue option, the employers have been reluctant and refused to come to the negotiation table for a review of the expired Collective Agreement for the industry since 2007 as per provisions of Wages Board and Industrial Council Acts of 1973.
“It is on this note that we are again reminding the Minister of Labour and Employer, and the employers in the finance sector to come to the negotiating table to ensure appropriate review of the collective bargaining agreement in line with the extant laws,” Olasanoye said.
The ASSBIFI President who was re-elected for the second term saluted the courage and commitment of the CBN for policy formulations in the quest to resuscitate the economy. She however urged both the CBN and National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) to thread with caution and not to stampede operators or allow ill-experience foreigners to hijack the companies in the name of recapitalisation, adding that this will further jeopardise the situation in the financial services sector .
“Besides, the regulators should keep applying best of wisdom in the process, knowing full well the implication of this policy on job losses to a willing workforce”, she added.
Also speaking at the event, the President, Trade Union Congress (TUC) , Quadri Olaleye, said the rate of unemployment and crime has been on the rise.