Over 400 hundred disengaged staff of Diamond Bank who were recently affected by the downsizing exercise carried out by the bank have decried the non-payment of their severance pay by the management after terminating their appointments suddenly.
The workers who spoke to newsmen in Kaduna at the weekend said the disengagement terms by Diamond Bank should not be different from that of the other banks which adequately settled all the terminated staff their severance pay and other entitlements in line with labour laws of disengaging workers on the basis of redundancy or anything related.
In addition to the non-payment, the workers lamented, Diamond Bank is also trying to make them unemployable by claiming that their disengagement is due their non performance, but which in reality is not true as many of them have good/excellent performance rating in their appraisals.
The spokesman of the group who preferred anonymity said they will not allow the bank to get away with their action.
“Diamond Bank is not the only bank that sacked its staff recently, but obviously, it is the only bank that is refusing to pay its former workers their severance pay after terminating their appointments unannounced.
“And to further strengthen their refusal to pay, the bank is telling the public that we were sack due to our non-performance. This is not only a malicious lie but it is wicked because by saying that, they are trying to render us unemployable.
“But on the contrary, many of us who were affected, numbering over 400, have good/excellent performance rating during previous appraisals including the last one done by the bank. The records are all there.
“So, Diamond Bank should stop peddling falsehood and own up their responsibilities. If they are sacking because of economic reasons, they should say so and adequately settle anyone they terminate his or her appointment. That was what other banks did.
“However, we will engage all means within the law to ensure that the bank does not get away with this illegality, because over 400 people are not a small number.
“We have been consulting widely across the country on the matter to know the precise action to take and we are in Kaduna to consult with various human right activists/lawyers, labour leaders and other notable figures who will help to advance our case,” the spokesman said.
The spokesman added that the bank has already thrown all their accounts into debit, suspended their visa cards as well as threatening them to immediately pay up any money owed it as a result of the upfront allowances paid them in January/February and that it (the bank) shall begin to apply the staff rate of 4% interest for 90 days, after which it shall begin to attract interest at Monetary Policy Rate.
The spokesman urged the government to put necessary measures in place to prohibit not only banks but other organizations from arbitrarily terminating their staff’s appointment at the slightest economic challenge, pointing out that the ability to absorb economic shocks and manoeuvre is also a necessary aspect of organizational commitment.
When contacted, the Group Managing Director of Diamond Bank, Uzoma Dozie said “I cannot talk to you because I cannot verify who you are, but if you read their contract, you will know if they were to be paid remuneration or not.”