Democratic Socialist Movement

For Struggle, Solidarity and Socialism in Nigeria

By - DSM

ASSBIFI and pro-labour organisations protest unlawful sack of LASACO unit chairman

ASSBIFI and pro-labour organisations protest unlawful sack of LASACO unit chairman

Management forced to Round Table

The Association of Senior Staff of Banks and Insurance and Financial Institutions (ASSIBIFI) and other pro-labour organisations (CDWR, DSM, and UAD) picketed LASACO Assurance premises at Alausa, Ikeja on Thursday January 15, 2009 in protest of the unlawful sacking of the union’s unit chairman, F. O. Fasanmi. By 7am about 150 protesters, comprising workers, union officials and pro-labour activists, had gathered at the gate of the building housing LASACO with their placards chanting solidarity songs. The management who sent a message that they would meet with the union by 11am never showed up.

Fasanmi was sacked on January 5 2009 by the management of LASACO after series of victimisation. According to the press statement issued by ASSIBIFI, the management had on October 27 2008 placed Fasanmi on indefinite suspension on trumped-up charges while on annual leave on the basis of a letter written to the management by the Eke-Arin of Eco Bank alleging he made some fraudulent ATM withdrawals.

The union, which intervened with several letters to the management, had faulted the management arbitrariness on the matter. They argued that the suspension was against the rudiments of common law practice and subsisting industry-wide Collective Agreement, which stipulates that such criminal matters, real or imaginary, must be referred to the Nigeria Police before management can take disciplinary actions.

The management, which was hell-bent on getting rid of the unit president in order to pave the way for more anti-workers attacks, went on to sack him. This was even despite the November 4 2008 letter written to the management by the head, Legal & Regulatory Unit/Company Secretary and Head, Audit & Compliance Group of Eco Bank, which recanted the allegations of the Oke-Arin Branch Manager and apologised to Fasanmi.

ASSIBIFI has been at logger-heads with the management for barring workers to join union against their wish. In 2006 after the consolidation of the insurance sector, LASACO acquired ELMAC insurance and all the workers who were formally with ELMAC were not allowed to join the union. It was obvious that the management was only interested in beheading the union to give it leeway for more attacks on workers.

The picketing paralysed working activities for the day as it lasted till 3pm. The union suspended the resolve to resume picketing the following Monday following the intervention of Ministry of Labour. Besides, despite the bravado of the management, it was humbled by the January 15 action as it solicited round table discussion with the union to resolve the meeting. The union has vowed not to relent until all its demands are met. These include unconditional reinstatement of Fasanmi without any loss of pay, the freedom of all workers to join the union etc. Ten copies of Socialist Democracy were sold.

The Campaign for Democratic and Workers Rights (CDWR), while commending the bold steps of the ASSBIFI, call on the union to initiate joint action with the sister union in the financial industry, NUBIFIE, against LASACO management and financial companies who perpetuate all forms of anti-labour activities.