Workers with Fidelity Bank Plc across Nigeria have vowed to disrupt business activities of the bank if demand on payment of their entitlements by the management is not met within five working days.
The workers, under the aegis of Concerned Note Counters Association of Fidelity Bank (CNCAFB) and Global Integrity Crusade Network (GICN) are reacting to a statement credited to Bank’s Divisional Head, Brand and Communications, Charles Aigbe on September 26, that the employees are deliberately casting aspersions on the bank in order to give it a bad name.
It had earlier been reported that Fidelity Bank said the planned disruption of service and social media attacks on the bank by some outsourced workers was unwarranted and misdirected.
A statement from the bank had read, “Our attention has been drawn to the planned disruption of service and social media attacks on the bank by a few outsourced staff who were recently recalled by their employers.
“The move, which is the handiwork of the outsourced staff who were on secondment to the bank as note counters, is aimed at casting the bank in a bad light. Their employers have confirmed to the bank that their recall was conducted in line with their existing contracts and according to extant labour laws.
“As a responsible financial institution, operating in Nigeria, Fidelity Bank is guided by the laws of the land. While we are not against the right to lawful assembly, the planned actions directed at Fidelity Bank, by these misguided individuals, are clearly unwarranted and misdirected.”
But reacting through a statement jointly signed by Abdulrahman Abdulraheem, Director of Media of GICN and Josiah Olusanya, Welfare Officer of CNCAFB; which was made available to journalists in Abuja on Monday, the employees faulted the Bank’s claims, arguing that they are not “contract staff” and as such, they should not be ill-treated.
The employees said, “Let it be put on record that Note Counters are not “contract staff”. They cannot be used, ill-treated and dumped at will by Fidelity Bank without being paid terminal benefits.”
They explained further that Note Counters were employed by Fidelity Union Securities Ltd (FUSL), they were all seconded to Fidelity Bank Plc and carried Identity Card of the bank as well as received salaries from the said Bank.
The workers expressed shock over the emergence of new company in the bank, describing as ‘kangaroo’, the new company’s name – FSL Management Services Limited which carried out the “unwarranted” sack order.
They insisted that whether sacked or willingly resigned, the workers are entitled to their benefits.
“Incidentally, the new kangaroo company named FSL Management Services Limited to sack the Note Counters for daring to speak out is also a subsidiary of Fidelity Bank Plc. This means that the terminal benefits due to core staff of the Bank should also be paid to Note Counters whether they resigned willingly or are disengaged by the Bank.
“We concede based on the provisions of the old Staff Handbook that applicable rates and terms of the Bank’s gratuity scheme may change from time to time depending on management’s consideration.
“However, our argument is that such change must be introduced with the consent of all employees of the Bank, including the Note Counters. Every bit of policy change so introduced into the Staff Handbook must conform to the employment laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“Be that as it may, application of the terms of the April 2015 Reviewed Staff Handbook of the Bank wherein it was stated on page 15 thereof that the gratuity scheme terminates effective December 31, 2015 should be without discrimination against any category of staffs.
“The Note Counters who are either still serving or left employment of the Bank through sack or voluntary resignation should be paid their due entitlements for the sake of justice, fairness and equity,” the statement explained.
They, however, called on the shareholders and customers of the bank to hurriedly stop transacting with the bank, saying actions taken against the employees by the Managing Director/CEO of Fidelity Bank Plc, Mr Nnamdi Okonkwo can jeopardize their fortunes.
“We wish to make it clear that the wicked acts being perpetrated against Note Counters by Mr. Nnamdi Okonkwo in his position as Managing Director/CEO of Fidelity Bank Plc are capable of jeopardizing the interest of shareholders and customers.
“We use this medium to warm that the fortunes of shareholders and customers may no longer be safe with Fidelity Bank Plc”, they said.