In a petition dated June 29 by an Abuja-based Legal Practitioner, Mr Frank Tietie, accusing the management of Diamond Bank Plc of unfair labour practices against some recently retrenched staffs of the bank.
In the letter which was addressed to the Managing Director of the bank, Tietie said that the workers were “rudely” informed of their sack by e-mail on May 27 and added that action breached the provisions of Section 20 of the Labour Act on redundancy as well as “other labour regulations, standards and best practices”.
Mr TieTie alleged that 400 workers were affected and their supposed long term loans were unilaterally deducted from their accounts
“By that action, they have been further subjected to the punishment of being suddenly thrown into serious financial dire straits.
“This is despite the unblemished and meritorious services they had rendered to the bank as committed and dedicated staff for periods ranging from one to 20 years,” he added.
He however, issued a 15 working days ultimatum to the bank from the day of receipt of the letter to enter into negotiations with representatives of the affected workers or face legal action.
The Head of Diamond Bank’s Media Relations Unit, Mr Ikechukwu Omeife, when contacted by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), stressed the lender’s claim that only 200 workers were affected.
He explained that the sack was part of a re-positioning recently undertaken by the bank to “optimise cost and enhance value for the shareholders at the end of the business year”.
Omeife added that the affected 200 employees were those whose performance records were lower than the minimum required to drive the bank’s strategic growth plan and wondered why the lawyer singled out Diamond Bank for attack over an exercise that was a normal practice in the corporate world and which other banks had also undertaken.
The spokesman denied knowledge of the alleged loan deductions but said it was also a standard practice in the case of sacked workers with loan obligations to their employers.