Democratic Socialist Movement

For Struggle, Solidarity and Socialism in Nigeria

By - DSM



  • CDWR calls on NUBIFE, ASSIBIFI, TUC and NLC to intervene
  • By Victor Osakwe

    The mass sack of workers in the banking industry has clearly shown the anti-workers character of the Lamido Sanusi-led CBN reform. The Campaign for Democratic and Workers’ Rights (CDWR) condemn the mass sack in the banking industry which has claimed 1,500 jobs in Intercontinental Bank and about 2, 500 in Oceanic Bank. Similarly, Spring Bank, Wema Bank Plc, FinBank and Union Bank have earlier sacked about 200, 500, 342 and 70 workers respectively. The exercise which is still ongoing has already thrown about 15, 000 people into an already over-saturated labour market. Worse still, from the trend of things, according to Association of Senior Staff of Banks, Insurance and Financial Institutions (ASSBIFI), the raging hurricane may not stop until about 21,000 workers are swept away from the banking industry.

    The CDWR calls for immediate reversal of this trend. This brutal attack on workers at a time when over N600 billion public funds were illegally used to bail out these banks is not justifiable. Workers are being made to pay for the corruption and extravagant lifestyle of the bank chiefs and their collaborators. These bank chiefs overtime questionably and unwarrantedly awarded loans to themselves devoid of collateral and against set standards. The justification by the CBN and banks that the sack is meant to enable the banks cut cost is not only untenable but also callous. While sacking and cutting pays of workers, the newly appointed chief executives of the ailing banks have continued to enjoy outrageous emolument and perks of the past bank chiefs. For instance, most of them are going around in bullet-proof jeeps with other expensive cars in their fleet. The Intercontinental Bank which sacked 1500 workers has equally granted N31.134 billion debt waiver to 15 of its privileged customers who jointly owed the bank N59.709 billion. No doubt, this bailout for the rich is being paid for by the sacked workers. All this has shown that workers are sacked in order for the bank chiefs and their business partners to preserve their privileges and extravagant life style at the expense of depositors’ funds. CBN’s argument that the banks are overstaffed is equally faulty since these workers in question were never idle but rather usually worked longer hours than necessary while in the service.

    The CDWR is also opposed to the setting up of Asset Management Company by the CBN, a public corporation which is meant to legalise the periodic use of public funds to bail out bank chiefs, accommodate their corrupt and extravagant lifestyle and unwarrantedly grant a privileged few debt forgiveness.

    The crisis being experienced in the banking sector like in other sectors of the economy is inevitable since banking operation is exclusively under the control and management of tiny privileged persons who carry out activities at the expense of depositors and the general public. The CDWR hereby call for the nationalization of the banks and other financial institutions and their placement under democratic control and management of workers and depositors. We also call on all banks that are involved in the mass sack to immediately recall all affected workers and cut down the privileges of top management staff including the bank chiefs, which will entail placing them on the average wage of a skilled worker in order to reduce cost. It is also necessary to make those who directly or indirectly are responsible for the ailing state of the banks to pay.

    Beyond mere issuance of statements, the National Union of Banks, Insurance and Allied Financial Institution Employees (NUBIFIE), Association of Senior Staff of Banks, Insurance and allied Financial Institutions (ASSBIFI), Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) should immediately intervene in this crisis with the aim of fighting for the recall of sacked workers and forestall similar occurrence in the coming period.