Workers Sack: Banks Poised To Defy FG Order

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Commercial Banks operating in Nigeria may be getting set to square it out with the Federal Government following and Employment, Chris Nwabueze Ngige, directing them to suspend further retrenchment of their workers, pending government intervention to avoid industrial unrest.
Ngige had in a statement last week stated interalia, “Following the high spate of petitions and complaints from stakeholders in the Banking, Insurance and Financial Institutions, I hereby direct the suspension of the on-going retrenchment in the sector pending the outcome of the conciliatory meetings in the industry.
According to him, “This is as a result of the apprehension by my office of the various disputes in the sector in accordance and in compliance with the provisions of the labour laws of Nigeria.”
But the banks do not seem impressed as in a swift response to the minister’s directive told nationalTRAIL that the Federal Government cannot dictate to them the size of manpower they need to keep, when thje same Government is responsible for the problems the banks are facing stressing that they are not bound by any ministerial directive on the matter.
Executive Director of one of the third generation banks in the country told our correspondent on conditions of anonymity that, the operations of banks, including the size of workers they maintain are largely determined by their levels of patronage, and when the government transferred all deposits from commercial banks to the Central Bank, it should naturally expect a proportionate response in terms of downsizing to enable banks remain afloat.
He confided in our correspondent that already the management of banks have began networking on how they can ensure their survival in the face of the Federal Government attempts to arm-twist them into keeping bogus work forces.
“The Government cannot take certain economic steps towards safeguarding her own funds without expecting those that may be directly affected by such policies not to adopt survival approaches, and that is what the commercial bank are doing by reducing their staff strength”, he said
“The Minister may just be playing the ostrich when he pretends not to know that banks are cringing under Government policies on banking, as he know that the banks employed in the first place when the businesses were booming, now we are being strangulated, and the same people who caused it are saying we should maintain what we cannot keep. That is not possible.” The banker added.
Arguing that no bank in Nigeria will survive the next two years if they are forced to keep a workforce they can hardly pay, the Ed said, government cannot force banks to keep workers under any law, because the fundamental law in business is to make profit and not to provide employment that is placing too heavy burdens on their operations.
Dr Ngige in justifying his order, the stated that the decision to halt further retrenchment in the banking sector was predicated upon the fact that the continued retrenchment and redundancy by the banks and other financial institutions are jeopardizing the outcome of the conciliatory and mediatory processes being undertaking by the Ministry of Labour and Employment.
“In this wise, all the retrenchments and redundancies done in the last four months and all proposed ones should be put on hold, pending the outcome of the proposed stakeholders’ summit for the Banking, Insurance and Financial Institutions’ employers and employees, slated for the first week of July, 2016. All parties are therefore advised in the interest of industrial peace and harmony to maintain the status-quo ante-belum” the minister said.
It could be recalled that, several banks have been carrying out retrenchment exercises since last year following the slide in their fortunes, which were equally attendant upon new government policies on banking. Many of the banks claim they cannot continue to keep excess workers, as required under a curtailed banking environment

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