Chris Steven, Abuja
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has withdrawn the strike notice it served to six commercial banks on June 15, 2016 over retrenchment of workers and redundancy in the banking sector.
NLC President Comrade Ayuba Wabba, said during a joint press briefing with the Director General of the Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Assembly (NECA) , Dr. Abiodun Oshinowo, that the decision was taken after a productive meeting of Labour leaders and representatives of NECA in Abuja on Wednesday.
Comrade Wabba said that it was agreed that all hostilities including the strike notice were put on hold to await the outcome of a meeting proposed by the Ministry of Labour and Employment on the matter.
He stressed that the leadership of NLC had been briefed by its affiliate union, the National Union of Banks, Insurance, and Financial Institutions Employees (NUBIFIE) , on the extent of its engagement with the affected banks on the contentious issues.
The NLC President said that the meeting dwelt on the process, the procedure and the position of law on the declaration of redundancy, non unionization of workers and the payment of protection fees by some of the banks and agreed that the issues be taken to the Federal Government’s meeting for resolution.
His words: “This afternoon, we had a very productive meeting led by the DG of NECA, and his members from the banks particularly on the issue of the mass sacking and redundancy in the banks of which you are aware NLC has issued a notice to picket those banks.
“All of us have come to the conclusion that such a meeting is necessary and we have also taken on board the interest of the workers as provided for by the laws especially section 20 of the trade union Act which provides for such dialogue, such consultation before such a process is concluded.
And we have looked at the pros and the cons especially the process and also the fact that our affiliate, NUBIFE, was able to also update us on how far they have gone with the process of engagement with the various banks.
“We have come to an agreement and understanding that all of us will also agree to attend the tripartite meeting that is being proposed by the Federal Ministry of Labour to look at other issues auxiliary to this. And we have also agreed as NLC working with our affiliates to suspend all forms in hostilities including the picketing until that meeting takes place under the auspices of the Federal Ministry of Labour.”
He explained that the listed banks, Fidelity Bank, Diamond Bank, First City Monument Bank, First Bank, Ecobank and Skye Bank, had not carried out the redundancy and had given the assurance that all the processes of the law would be followed before carrying out any such exercise.
Speaking also, Oshinowo said that NECA and the NLC agreed that employers wanting retrench workers must respect the rights of workers as enshrined in Section 20 of the Labour Act.
He said that it was also the decision of the meeting that employers who had carried out retrenchments without following due procedure should ensure that the right thing was done.
Oshinowo stated also that the meeting also identified the issue of non-unionization of workers as a major problem in the banking sector which should be tackled effectively.