Unity Bank Sacks 1,300 Staff Nationwide | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Unity Bank Sacks 1,300 Staff Nationwide

union bank; IDPs
Posted: Sep 15, 2016 at 4:59 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

*Analysts Say Action Propelled By Economic Recession


Bamidele Ogunwusi and TOR VANDE-ACKA


The gale of retrenchment in the nation’s banking sector on Wednesday blew away about 1,300 staff of Unity Bank in an exercise that cuts across its branches all over the country.

Some financial experts, who spoke to Independent, said the exercise was the bank’s response to the harsh economic situation in the country.

This sack is, however, in defiance to the directive by the Federal Government to banks in the country not to engage in the retrenchment of staff in the sector.

Sources within the bank told Independent that the number could be more, alleging that majority of the affected staff were sacked for not meeting their targets, a situation, which a source said was near-impossible in some areas.

Anorgi Anyanwu, a former Deputy Managing Director of Mainstreet Bank, said though the development is worrisome, he stressed that it is not unexpected at a time like this when the economy of the country is in recession.

“I know it is sad for anyone to lose job but we need to look at the economy at large. People should know that whatever happens to the economy will affect the banks and other sectors. You don’t expect the economy to be on its knees and expect the banks to be on their feet. Things like this will always happen.

“The development is not only in Unity Bank but it is affecting other banks too”, Anyanwu said.

Cyril Ampka, an Abuja-based financial expert, believes that most banks that are doing it now ought to have done it earlier so that the affected staff by now would pick their pieces back by now.

“The signs have been there since last week and most banks were expected to have reduced their staff strength then but some of them waited till this time because they felt the economy can recover on time. With recession, banks have seen that surgical operations needed to be carried out without any further delay,” Ampka said.

Chris Ngige, the Minister of Labour and Employment, few months ago directed that all ongoing retrenchment exercises in the sector be put on hold to await the outcome of conciliatory meetings in the industry with government.

But defying the order, Unity Bank on Wednesday embarked on a mass sack of staff which included some branch managers.

“Imagine a small town like this (name of town withheld), I am given a target of N300 million. Where do I get that kind of money with the economic downturn”, one of the sacked staff lamented on Wednesday.

The only surviving branch manager in Makurdi in the North Central could not be reached for comments.

Our source, however, observed that even if I had met her on seat she wouldn’t have commented because the issue was beyond her.

Ngige had said that the directive became necessary in view of the fact that sacking of workers in the sector was endangering the outcome of conciliatory efforts of the ministry.

He said then that “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.

“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.”

The statement further stated, “This decision is further predicated on the fact that the continued retrenchment and redundancy by the banks and other financial institutions is jeopardizing the outcome of the conciliatory and mediatory processes being undertaken by the Ministry of Labour and Employment.”