Labour Leader canvasses picketing of banks involved in mass retrenchment of staff

Issa Aremu Photo: TNN.ng

A labour leader, Issa Aremu, has called for the picketing of banks involved in the mass retrenchment of their staff.

He made the call in Lagos on Thursday while speaking at a forum organised by Central Bank of Nigeria on stability in the financial sector and economy.

Some banks, including EcoBank Plc and Diamond Bank Plc, recently sacked thousands of their staff across the country, citing economic downturn as a reason.

The federal government has since condemned the mass sack and threatened to withdraw the operating licences of the banks.

Mr. Aremu, who is a member of the national executive council of the Nigeria Labour Congress, said the development “makes work dangerously precarious in the sector”.

He charged the sector unions, including the National Union of Banks, Insurance and Financial Institutions Employees and the Association of Senior Staff of Banks, Insurance and Financial Institutions to urgently begin to champion mass picketing of banks that were making work precarious through mass sacks.

He argued that banks which see workers as “dispensable items” during temporary economic shock even when they treat same workers as slaves during times of boom, ought not to be in business and should have their licenses legitimately revoked.

“At a time all the state and market actors in Nigerian economy are working hard to address the crisis of unemployment, mass sack in banks that are still posting prohibitive profits can be likened to economic sabotage,” the labour leader said.

Mr. Aremu, who is also the General Secretary of National Union of Textile, Garment and Tailoring Workers of Nigeria, commended the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, and the National Assembly for intervening in the matter.

He asked the CBN, as banker of last resort, to intervene on the issue of job retention in the financial sector.

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He urged bank to look inward within the banking sectors with a view of retaining jobs rather than the ongoing indiscriminate mass sacks in the sector.

The labour leader commended the CBN under the leadership of its governor, Godwin Emefiele, which, according to him, had promoted job creations in critical sectors like agriculture, energy and textile.

Mr. Aremu condemned the incessant clamour for the devaluation of the naira just as he the CBN to look again at its current monetary policy rate that puts interest rate at double digit.

“Nigeria cannot run a successful productive value adding economy with the current high cost of funds caused by high interest rates,” he argued.

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