The Union of Industry, Commerce & Finance Workers (UNICOF), has begun talks with management of First Atlantic Bank over the layoff of 100 workers.
According to the Union, the layoffs will worsen the plight of the affected workers.
Speaking about the situation, the Deputy General Secretary of UNICOF, Michael Biney urged the affected workers to remain calm as the union engages management of the bank.
“Let me address our members by saying that as the leaders were here on yesterday (Thursday May 2nd, 2019) we were also at the bank to speak to some of the middle level managers. The top management officials were not around. We want to use your platform to let the workers know that they should keep calm, we are working behind the scenes to make sure that the very unacceptable happenings are addressed. I believe the top management officials might have noticed that we are very unhappy and we are at their heels to make sure that we sit down and resolve the matter amicably.”
Even though negotiations are ongoing to determine the exit package for the workers, the affected staff are said to have rejected an initial severance package put on the table by management of the bank.
The workers are demanding for better severance packages due to the fact that some are still servicing loans acquired from the bank.
Documents seen by Citi Business News show that the severance package offered to the affected workers include;
- 5 months basic salary for each year of service completed on pro-rata basis and capped at 24 months.
- 20% discount on total outstanding loan amount for affected employees.
- One month basic salary in lieu of notice.
- Transportation of GHC 2,000 for each affected employee.
Reacting to the issue, Banking Consultant, Dr. Richmond Atuahene stated that even though the layoffs are unfortunate they were expected.
“Considering those being laid off, I’ve always said that its part of the normal measures in acquisitions, takeovers and amalgamations. Once we come together we don’t expect two managers for every job, we don’t expect two CEOs for every job. Definitely one would have to go. It’s a normal thing, and it’s a normal thing in banking or any takeover or merger, whether be it insurance or banking or pensions.”
Dr. Atuahene however called on the workers and the representatives to take the needed steps to ensure that they get the appropriate compensation.
“There isn’t much that could be done especially now that they have to make provision for payment. And they haven’t made any good profits yet. So those from Energy Bank will definitely have to suffer because they have been takeover by a bigger and a stronger bank. So maybe the package as you said they should go to the Labour Commission for a review. So for me maybe the only thing that I would add my voice to is that, maybe they have to go to a third party to see if the compensation facility is reasonable.”
Citi Business News has learnt that the layoff of the 100 workers which follows the merger between First Atlantic Bank and Energy Bank, was arrived at based on recommendations from an independent consultant.
The merger of the two banks is said to have led to duplication of roles, leading to the redundancy which is believed to have affected employees from both banks.
Also, a restructuring of the bank’s operations resulted in the closure of some of its branches due to strategic reasons.