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Retrenchment: NLC suspends picketing of banks

Relief  came the way of Nigerian banks as the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), said it would no longer picket those that planned to retrench workers.…

Relief  came the way of Nigerian banks as the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), said it would no longer picket those that planned to retrench workers.
Several banks, recently, disengaged about 3,500 workers, citing the downturn in the economy as their reason.
The NLC had threatened to picket six banks that were on the verge of laying off workers.
The NLC President, Ayuba Wabba,  announced, Wednesday in Abuja, the suspension of the proposed picketing of six banks over mass sack of workers at  a joint press conference organised by the NLC, Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA) and some representatives of the affected banks.
The  NLC had  issued a 14-day ultimatum to six banks to recall sacked workers or face a nationwide industrial action. The banks are Fidelity Bank, Diamond Bank, First City Monument Bank, First Bank, Ecobank and Skye Bank.
Wabba  said that  the decision  to stop the action was sequel to the public hearing organised by the Senate Committee on Banks and Financial Institutions, where  the Senate asked the Ministry of Labour and Employment to intervene in the matter.
“We have come to an agreement that all of us would attend the tripartite meeting that is being proposed by the ministry, to look at auxiliary issues affecting the sector,” Wabba said.
 “We have also agreed as NLC, working with our affiliates, to suspend all forms of hostility, including the picketing, until the meeting takes place.
“We have also looked at other related issues that include non-unionisation, issue of protection fees by some banks, among others. We have agreed mutually that the issues will be discussed under law at the tripartite meeting being organised by the ministry and all of us have agreed to subject ourselves to it.”
He said that all parties had agreed that the tripartite meeting was necessary as it would take on board the interest of the workers as provided by the law under Section 20 of the Trade Union Act.
He said that the law provides a forum for dialogue and consultation before any process would be concluded. “We have observed the challenge, especially the issue of the process, the procedure and the provision of the law.”
Wabba said that the National Union of Banks, Insurance and Financial Institutions Employees (NUBIFIE) told the congress how far it had gone with its engagement with the affected banks.
Also speaking, the Director- General of NECA, Mr Olusegun Oshinowo, called for dialogue as a way of resolving issues in the banking and financial institutions sector.
“The fact is that in employer and employees relationship, there will always be issues, but the important thing is that when there are issues, there should be a structure and there should be an understanding among social partners,” he said.
He thanked labour for accepting to subject the issue of retrenchment in banks to social dialogue with a view to resolving of the problem.

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