Organised labour threatens to shut down Nigerian banks

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

Amid Coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis fast disrupting the entire Nigerian economy as of now, the Organised labour has threatened to shut down banking operations nationwide by March 31, 2020, if employers in banking sector fail to review the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) in line with extant law.

ConsumerConnect gathered that the Labour unions, under the aegis of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Trade Union Congress (TUC), National Union of Banks, Insurance and Financial Institutions Employees (NUBIFIE) and Association of Senior Staff of Banks, Insurance and Financial Institutions (ASSBIFI), have jointly planned to ground the sector in April if employers fail to agree to the bargaining terms.

Oyinkan Olasanoye, National President, ASSBIFI, when addressing journalists Thursday, alleged that there had 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).

According to Olasanoye, the unions earlier had threatened to embark on strike in January, but with the intervention of Dr. Chris Ngige, Minister for Labour and Employment, who called for a meeting for the unions to give more time.

“At that meeting, we were given till March 31 to conclude all issues on the collective bargaining and from our angle as employees.

“We have prepared our documents, but it saddens our hearts that till now, employers have not called us and there has never been any meeting.

“On March 13, we were with the Minister of Labour and we called his attention to it that if by March 31 the banking employers did not come to the table, we will go back to our strike threat,” he stated.

The unions, Olasanoye added, have been stretched beyond limit, as he lamented that despite the fact that the unions as a reasonable trade union had continued to use dialogue option.

However, the ASSBIFI National President said the employers had 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.

“We have discussed with TUC and NLC, which are our parental bodies, and since we are still in March, let us wait and see maybe the employers have agreed to our terms.

“But if nothing is done till March 31, there will be a world press conference organised by NLC, TUC, NUBIFIE and ASSBIFI, after that we will shut down financial institutions in the country in April,” said the ASSBIFI leader.

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