UPDATE ON 12 ex-STAFF: SOJWORLD.COM went to investigate the issues that made staff of the Fidelity Bank Plc to go on rampage disrupting the activities of the bank in various bank branches in Lagos.
Contrary to the news going viral in the social media that Fidelity Bankâ€™s went on rampage because the bank was unable to pay salary, SOJWORLD.COM can authoritatively say this was farther from the truth.
Fidelity has never failed in its responsibilities to pay its workersâ€™ salaries. The bank is sound and healthy but according to the staff of the bank â€œthe bank management is callous towards staff welfare.â€
The truth of the matter was, the management of the bank sacked over 100 of their junior workforce and few senior staff without benefits contrary to what was on the Staff Hand Book of the bank. Many legacy staff at the weekend were asked to tender their letters of resignation.
As at the time of going to press, many staff who have been laid off without due compensations are still planning to go on rampage against the bank. These are the staff who have put in many years of meritorious services to the bank.
In all of this, the apex bank, Central Bank of Nigeria, (CBN) whose duty is to supervise the banks and to see to it that staff of the bank are not outsourced.
As we write, most of the banks in Nigeria have over 80% of contract staff under the watch of the CBN.
For Nigeria to get out of the wood of corruption, the trend of the banks having larger workforce as contract staff in spite of huge billions of naira profits declared annually needed to be looked at by the apex bank.
In a press release made available to SOJWORLD.COM, the bank said in a one page release signed by the Divisional Head Brand & Communications, Charles Aigbe; â€œOur attention has been drawn to the demonstration at some of our business offices in Lagosâ€
The bank went further, â€œThe actions aimed at preventing innocent customers from carrying out their banking transactions, is the handiwork of a few disengaged drivers from one of our vendor companiesâ€
We understand that the drivers who were in the past outsourced to the bank, have been paid their severance packages and entitlements by their employers.â€
Many staff of the bank disengaged cried to the National Industrial Courts in Abuja and in Lagos to fight for their terminal benefits which they claimed the bank refused to pay.
The bank in its statement said, â€œFor the avoidance of doubt, we state categorically that Fidelity Bank is not owing staff salaries, severance packages or gratuity payment as erroneously portrayed.â€
The litigations pending in the law courts is at the prerogative of the judges to determine but this is not the best of time for a bank like Fidelity Bank Plc whose slogan is, â€œwe keep our word.â€
In another development, the 12 ex-staff of the bank who came together to fight for their retirement benefits since last year could not get judgement on Tuesday as the Judge presiding apologized for misplacing the judgement paper.
According to a reliable source who said he doesnâ€™t want his name mentioned here for security reasons, he said, â€œThe Judge pleaded she had two rulings yesterday (Tuesday) but misplaced it, and the secretary was not around to print it out, as they had a little challenge. She apologized to us and said I know what it is like not being paid, but adjourned the ruling till October 3, 2018.â€
In the process of asking Fidelity lawyer from F.O. Akerinre & Co who said â€œI thought we agreed on settling out of court, our (12 ex-staff) lawyer from Mike Ozekhome Chambers stood up and said they (Fidelity) came with a letter that they are not interested in settling.â€
Fidelity lawyer said, â€œI didnâ€™t see the letter.â€ â€œWhen the letter was shown to him, the Judge asked if the letter is not from their chambers, he said he is not aware of it and said this about four times that â€œwe are open for settlement.â€
According to our source, this new turnaround by the bank is a delay tactics against the 12 ex-staff from getting favourable judgement.
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