Some Access Bank staff who were laid off protest at the bank’s head office in Victoria Island, Lagos, on Wednesday.
The protest was against the alleged termination of contracts and non-payment of entitlements. The laid-off staff made know their agitations through their various placards.
Some of the placards read, “Stop Access Bank brutality. More than 2,000 sacked”, “Access, pay us our entitlements”, “What does the future hold for support staff?”, “Stop enslaving Nigerians in their country”.
The workers accused Access bank of terminating more than 2,000 workers without paying them their entitlements.
It should be recalled that the bank laid off some staff during the heat of COVID-19 in April before the Central Bank of Nigeria intervened and halt the process following a nationwide outcry.
However, some of the laid of staff explained to the media that the trouble started on April 31, 2020 when the bank laid off some of their staff due to the global health pandemic.
One of the laid of staff, (name withheld) explained that though Access Bank obeyed CBN, recalled the staff and continued to pay their salaries, they requested them to stay away from the office.
However, the situation changed on November 30, 2020, when some staff were served termination letters through their various outsourcing firms.
Mr. Akintayo Akinyemi one of the protesters said that Access Bank is in dialogue with the National Union of Banks Insurance and Financial Institution Employees.
He said, “Now that they said they don’t want us anymore, we’re entitled to gratuities. If they are saying we should go, then they should pay our entitlements, and that’s what we’re fighting for.
“The bank already scheduled a meeting with our union for December 11. They shifted the meeting to that time because of what they planned to do.
“We want them to pay our entitlements; they should pay us off so that we can do something with our lives. I’m in my mid-thirties and I have been applying for jobs since then, but they have been turning me down because of my age. I cannot get a valid job anymore. I have put about 10 years into the system and I was laid off just like that”.
Another laid-off staff, Solomon Oropo, said that they were paid N11,500 by the bank’s outsourcing firms for terminating their appointments.
He said, “Our salaries were being paid till November 30 when we received letters that our services were no longer needed and after that, they paid us N11,500 for terminating the contracts. So, what they’re paying as gratuity is N11,500 and that was what led to this protest.
“Our union had been having meetings with the bank and the bank denied sacking us. There are staffs that have been working for 20 years and below and many of us are above 40 with family and they are paying us N11,500 in lieu of notification and that’s all. We see it as dubious and uncalled for and we say no to it. They cannot use our youthful age and ask us to go home with N11,500”.
Mr Olatunji Abubakar, another protester, accused Access bank of demoting some of the staff after merging with Diamond Bank, said, “when Access Bank took over from Diamond Bank, all the office assistants working under Diamond Bank were demoted to security guards on the grounds that they don’t have office assistants in Access Bank and our salaries were pushed to different security firms.
“We went to the security firms for documentations and we were not given any offer letters until when we were disengaged last month without any benefit. I worked with Diamond Bank for 10 years before we came to Access Bank. This has affected me in many ways because I don’t know where to go or start from”.
However, in all this Access bank denied laying off its staff and claimed the termination of appointment was done by their outsourcing firms.
Abdul Imoyo, Access bank’s Head of Media Relations, explained that the protest was an appeal to the bank to intervene in the decision of the outsourcing firms.
He said, “It was not Access Bank that sacked them. The protest was about them calling on Access Bank to intervene in the termination of their appointments with their employers. It is about their relationship with their employers and because they work for Access Bank, they’re asking Access Bank to intervene and we have called their employers.
“There’s an ongoing process to get this resolved. They are not happy with what their employers did and they escalated their grievances beyond their employers. Their employers said they were paid based on their different levels of engagements and terms of the agreements.
“We’re going to engage their employers and see how we can manage their dispute. We need to investigate what happened between them and their employers and resolve all issues.
CBN Grants Lotus Bank Non-Interest Banking Licence
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Thursday, June 17, granted a non-interest banking licence to Lotus Bank Limited.
This was contained in a statement titled ‘CBN grants Lotus Bank licence to commence non-interest banking operations’.
The statement read in part: “Lotus Bank seeks to pursue the mission of creating value and growth for all through digital innovation and best-in-class customer experience for Nigerians.”
Commenting on the grants, the founder and managing director of Lotus Capital (the pioneers of non-interest finance in Nigeria), Hajara Adeola, said the bank was starting its operations on a solid foundation of experienced leadership and a strong advisory council of experts.
Adeola explained that the bank is managed by a team of seasoned professionals and financial experts led by the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Kafilat Araoye, who has over 25 years of commercial banking experience.
She added that the institution’s focus and guiding principle is ‘to deliver an alternative option to interest-based banking and to cater to the needs of not just the banked but also the underbanked and unbanked population.
According to her, non-interest banking was geared towards supporting the real sector and Lotus Bank aimed to improve financial inclusion in the country.
The founder of the bank, however, disclosed that it would operate transparent pricing models as it was the norm in non-interest banking.
The statement added: “Our values are deeply rooted in partnership. A critical component of our mission is the provision of innovative solutions that drive ethical prosperity for all stakeholders.
“We pride ourselves on digital solutions that provide our customers with the convenience of unlimited access to our services and products.”
“Our products and service offerings will include non-interest business financing, deposit products (current, savings and investment accounts) and personal financing.”
Fidelity GAIM Season 4 Final Draw To Hold On July 22
One of the leading financial institution in Nigeria, Fidelity Bank Plc, has announced plans to enrich the lives of fifteen Nigerians with a total of 39 million Naira at the final draw of the “Get Alert in Millions Campaign (GAIM)” Season 4 savings promo, slated for July 22, 2021.
The savings promotion, which is specifically aimed at promoting the culture of saving among Nigerians, is one of the bank’s many initiatives aimed at rewarding new and existing customers for their unwavering loyalty and patronage.
Despite the fact that the promotion was halted in 2020 due to the Coronavirus (Covid-19) Pandemic and the resulting global lockdown, hundreds of Nigerians have benefited from this unique reward scheme in which lucky customers are credited with millions of naira and consolation prizes via a draw system.
The Chairman, Promo Committee, Fidelity Bank Plc, Mr. Richard Madiebo expressed his delight at the resumption of the savings promotion, stating that the campaign seeks to reward customers for their loyalty and patronage. According to Mr. Madiebo, for the past twelve years, the bank has empowered new and existing customers, providing an avenue for many to change their fortunes through its savings Promo.
He stated that the bank takes pride in keeping its promises, adding that the lender would continue to look out for innovative ways to satisfy and enrich its customers across the nation.
“And as we wind down on the 4th season of the GAIM promo, we are elated at the prospect of not only driving financial inclusion across Nigeria but also at the unique opportunity to enrich the lives of our customers especially in times of economic uncertainties”, noted Madiebo
Over the years, the leading tier two Bank has continued to intensify its efforts and innovate ways towards ensuring customer and stakeholder satisfaction. Through this promo, Fidelity Bank has promoted financial inclusion through digital channels and enriched the lives of its customers even in times of economic uncertainties.
Zenith Bank Gets Recognition for Best Corporate Governance
Zenith Bank Plc’s strong business ethos, ethical values, and impeccable corporate governance have been rewarded with ‘Best Corporate Governance’ Financial Services’ Africa 2021 award by the Ethical Boardroom.
The bank, in a statement yesterday, said the award, published in the June 2021 edition of The Ethical Boardroom magazine, recognised the bank’s adherence to global best practices and institutionalisation of corporate governance as well as setting an industry-wide example of best practices in that field.
Commenting on the award, Group Managing Director/Chief Executive of Zenith Bank Plc, Mr. Ebenezer Onyeagwu, said: “This recognition is a testament to our commitment to quality, accountability, fairness and transparency in our engagement with all stakeholders.
“It is also an affirmation of the bank’s professionalism, ethical conduct and sustenance of global best practices and standards which is attributable to the joint collaboration of the management and staff.”
The award comes on the heels of others and recognitions that the bank has garnered in recent times for its track record of excellent performance and commitment to global best practices.
For instance, Zenith Bank was voted as Bank of the Year (Nigeria) in The Banker’s Bank of the Year Awards 2020; Best Bank in Nigeria in the Global Finance World’s Best Banks Awards 2020 and 2021, and Best Corporate Governance’ Financial Services’ Africa 2020 by the Ethical Boardroom.
Also, the bank emerged as the Most Valuable Banking Brand in Nigeria in the Banker Magazine Top 500 Banking Brands 2020 and 2021, and Number One Bank in Nigeria by Tier-1 Capital in the “2020 Top 1000 World Banks” Ranking by The Banker Magazine.
Similarly, the bank was recognised as Bank of the Decade (People’s Choice) at the THISDAY Awards 2020, Retail Bank of the year at the 2020 BusinessDay Banks and Other Financial Institutions (BOFI) Awards, and Best Company in Promotion of Good Health and Well-Being as well as Best Company in Promotion of Gender Equality and Women Empowerment at the Sustainability, Enterprise and Responsibility (SERAS) Awards 2020.
Zenith Bank has been generally adjudged a corporate governance compliant bank by the Nigerian Exchange Limited (NGX) hence its listing on the Premium Board of the Exchange.
The bank continues to sustain this reputation and reappraise its processes to ensure that its business conforms to the highest global standards at all times.
The bank places a premium on its core business strategy anchored on people, technology and service, to create value for its numerous clientele.
“With a team of dedicated professionals, the bank leverages its robust Information and Communication Technology (ICT) infrastructure to provide cutting-edge solutions and products through its network of branches and electronic/digital channels,” the statement added.
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