Thursday, February 17, 2011

Nigeria Labour Congress Protests Union Bank of Nigeria's Anti-Labour Practices,While Shareholders File Suit Against the Executive Management

Many Employees of the  Union Bank of Nigeria are fed up with what they say are oppressive, anti-labour practices that treats them like slaves. The National Labour Congress (NLC) acted on this disenchantment by picketing and literally shutting down several branches of Union Bank of Nigeria.

Simultaneously,  Union Bank's shareholders are taking action  by filing a lawsuit against the Managing Director of Union Bank of Nigeria Plc,  Mrs Funke Osibodu. The shareholders allege that Mrs. Osibodu and her colleagues are engaged in corruption, using the bank's funding for their personal benefit to the shareholders and bank's detriment.

Unfortunately, the customers who have money in the Union Bank of Nigeria are unable to access their much needed money and caught in the middle of what could be an important turning point in workers' rights in Nigeria.

MANY customers of Union Bank of Nigeria Plc, who thronged the branches of the bank on Wednesday to  transact business, were helpless as the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) continued its picketing of the branches of the bank across the country.

The NLC took over all the branches and offices of Union Bank in Abuja on Wednesday, sealed them off, switched off their sources of power and chased out the few staff who were on duty.

As early as 8.00 a.m., officials of the NLC led their members in what the congress described as a final showdown and complete closure of the bank and instantly commenced the picketing from the bank’s headquarters in Area 3, Abuja.

Other branches of the bank picketed included those of Area 10, Area 8, Maitama, Wuse and Bullet House and the  Three Arms Zone.

All the branches and offices were sealed off, locked with chains and padlock, while customers who wanted to withdraw money waited in vain.

A customer, Mr Mike Ahamba, who spoke on behalf of other customers at the Area 3 branch, regretted that the NLC came to seal off and took control of the bank without alerting the customers to the picketing.

He explained that he had come to the bank to collect money for his children to go back to school and for his needs, but regretted that the situation had really affected him and his household.

He said: “I am a civil servant, and I have an account in this bank. The situation is affecting me seriously. My children are at home and they cannot go back to their schools. Since last week, I can’t get my money.

“The approach is wrong, they should have informed us. Now, I have no money to spend at home. We are pleading and calling on the NLC to adopt another approach. They are supposed to take another step. I have been coming here everyday, I was here on Monday, and now today, but I cannot get my money.”

He pleaded that the NLC should call the Federal Government and the Central Bank of Nigeria to intervene in the issue rather than making life difficult for the customers.

Nigerian Tribune investigation also showed that the workers of the bank were in support of the NLC  action.
 As both shareholders and NLC aim for reform, Union Bank's management takes a firm postion and this could end up being a long resolution process...
Meanwhile, the Executive Director of Operations, Information Technology and Services of Union Bank Plc, Mr Shonubi Adebisi, has declared that the picketing by NLC has plunged the bank into yet to be quantified huge losses, despite every effort made by the bank to engage in dialogue with the labour on ways to resolve the crisis.

Adebisi said this on Wednesday, while briefing newsmen of the impact of the picketing on the bank.

In a related development, the Managing Director of Union Bank of Nigeria Plc,  Mrs Funke Osibodu, has asked a Federal High Court in Lagos, presided over by Justice B.I. Molokwu, to strike out a suit filed against her and others by some aggrieved shareholders of the bank, over an alleged reckless spending, saying that the shareholders lacked locus standi to institute the action.

The shareholders, led by the national coordinator of Independent Shareholders Association of Nigeria (ISAN), Nwosu Nnamdi , had filed the case, accusing Osibodu and others of expending the funds of the bank for their personal benefit to the detriment of the bank and its shareholders.

They also alleged that Mrs Osibodu and others appointed on the board of the bank by the governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Lamido Sanusi, had been running the affairs of the bank in an illegal and oppressive manner, to the prejudice of shareholders and contrary to the provisions of the Memorandum and Articles of Association of Union Bank.

The shareholders, in a case instituted by their counsel, Onyebuchi Aniakor, also listed Musa Gella Yakubu, Adekunle Adeosun, Philip Ikeazor, Ibrahim Kwargana, Folashodun Shonubi, Mansur Ahmed, Ahmadu Abubakar, Onikepo Akande, Ibrahim Gobir, Onajite Okoloko, Festus Odimegwu, Olusegun Olusanya and Cosmas Udofot, all as co-respondents.

However, in a joint preliminary objection, Osibodu and others submitted that the shareholders lacked locus standi to institute the action, adding that the suit disclosed no reasonable cause of action against them.

Source: Nigerian Tribune
Photo: Nigeria Daily News

No comments: