Democratic Socialist Movement

For Struggle, Solidarity and Socialism in Nigeria

By - DSM



…As Mainstreet Bank Sacked 800 Staff

ASSIBIFIE, NUBIFIE, NLC and TUC Must Stop this Wave of Mass Sack

By Chinedu Bosah

As a continuation of the mass sack in the banking sector, Mainstreet Bank has retrenched 800 staff. The management led by the MD, Mrs. Faith Tueddor-Mathew claimed it is part of a “re-organisation exercise” meant to “reposition” the bank.

Last year, the management introduced anti-workers policies, one of which was to force most workers to renew their employment status in order to negate their previous number of years worked in Afribank without any pay. Outrageous monthly deposit targets were also slammed on workers without any prior discussion on what was achievable and the best way to go about it.

The sacked workers were only paid one month basic salary, which is about N21,000 for some of the workers! In contrast, the former Executive Directors that were removed in August 2011 were paid between N100 million and N120 million while the Managing Director who presided the almost collapse of the bank smiled home with 150 million!

Besides, the attack on the ordinary workers, Faith Tueddor is carrying on the running of Mainstreet Bank in the same old ways of profligacy. She has been wasting the public funds invested in the bank on expensive and unwarranted trips as well jumbo allowances and salaries for herself and other top management staff.

Mainstreet Bank (formerly known as Afribank Plc) was taken over when it was run aground by the former management and N291 billion of public fund was invested in it. Other banks that were taken over were Bank PHB and Spring Bank now known as Keystone Bank and Enterprise Bank respectively and a total N679 billion were spent to recapitalize the three Banks. But this was apart from N620 billion the CBN injected into 10 banks following the financial crisis in 2009. The federal government through AMCON has also spent N1.725 trillion to acquire non-performing loans in the banks. Hence, the total bailout package (public funds used to rescue private banks) since the crisis in 2009 is over N3 trillion.

But nothing has fundamentally changed since the removal of some Bank chiefs and the injection of huge bailout. The same corrupt and wasteful individuals whose major preoccupation is to gamble with depositor’s fund in order to enrich themselves are the ones still occupying key sensitive positions in virtually all the banks. For instance, some workers claim the network system (T24) currently used by Mainstreet, which is working perfectly and was installed in 2001 at a cost of about N10 billion, is about to be changed to a new network system known as PINACLE by the new management and will cost Mainstreet Bank additional 26 billion. What a waste!

In reality what the government did was to bailout the bank chiefs and some privileged debtors both in corridors of power and in corporate world who largely were responsible for the banking crisis. Instead of the bailout intervention to be beneficial to the public (job security for workers, low interest rate to the real sector, etc), since it was public funds that was expended, it has become a basis for mass sack of workers hereby flooding the unemployment rate.

Another striking example of how the poor workers are made to pay for fraud and infraction of bank chiefs and associates is the development in the then Intercontinental Bank Plc which granted N31.134 billion waiver to 15 of its privileged debtors who collectively owed N59 billion in December 2009 while over 3000 workers originally in the employ of the bank have been sacked!

The CDWR condemns this wave of mass sack in the banking industry and call for its immediate reversal. The two unions (Association of Senior Staff of Banks and Financial Institutions and the National Union of Banks, Insurance and Financial Institutions Employees) and their labour centers (Nigeria Labour Congress and Trade Union Congress) have not done much in defense of many sacked workers. It is time for both unions and their centers to unite their forces to fight back this assault on the workers in the banking sector. CDWR commend TUC for coming out publicly to condemn the sack and demand the reversal failing which it promised to mobilize to shut down Mainstreet offices nationwide. We hereby call on the leadership of the TUC to reach out to the NLC leadership for a joint action to force the management to reverse this inhuman mass sack.