The Amalgamated Union of Public Corporations, Civil Service, Technical and Recreational Service Employees, AUPCTRE, on Wednesday in Lagos temporarily shut down banking operations at First Bank of Nigeria Plc Headquarters.
The shutdown paralysed activities at the bank for more than four hours, as the aggrieved union officials refused customers entry into banking hall for any business transactions.
The Lagos State Secretary of AUPCTRE, Biodun Bakare, an affiliate of Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, said that the picketing of the First Bank headquarters followed the N1.8 billion outstanding arrears of emoluments the bank owed 1,100 AUPCTRE members.
Mr. Bakare said that the money had been paid by the Anambra Government for workers at the state’s Water Corporation and Environment Protection Agency for eight years which the bank refused to disburse. “They have been owing our members working with Anambra State Government Water Corporation salaries and allowances for eight years.
“On this, our union took Anambra State Government and the bank to court and the government said they have paid the said money to First Bank for onward disbursement to the workers.
“The court ruled on July 14, 2014, that this money be disbursed to the account of these employees and since that time nothing has been done.
“First Bank assured us that it was fashioning out strategies for the payment and 22 days later nothing had been done.
“We gave them seven days ultimatum that after the expiration of the ultimatum the bank is yet to pay,” Mr. Bakare said.
He said all branches of First Bank nationwide were barricaded by the union following the expiration of the August 12 ultimatum.
He added that the workers had suffered for the past eight years and should be paid.
The secretary said the union would not guarantee industrial peace in all the branches of the bank across the country until the workers were paid.
The members, who were chanting different songs of solidarity, carried placards with different inscriptions, including: “Stop trading with our workers wealth”, “Life is more important”, “Our members are dying” ETC.
Reacting, Efeturi Doghudje, of First Bank Corporate Communications Department, said that the management would issue a statement later on the matter.