Tension Brews At First Atlantic Bank …Staff At MD’s Throat Over Unfair Termination, Hostile Environment
Information reaching THE PUBLISHER indicate that, aside the unacceptable termination of some 100 its employees barely a week ago, many more employees of First Atlantic Bank (FAB), particularly those from the erstwhile Energy Commercial Bank, are billed to be laid off in the next month or two.
The paper is reliably informed that a clandestine process of a half-year’s appraisal is to be used to get rid of the staff by circumventing an earlier ‘gentleman’s agreement’ between the management and the workers to the effect that no staff would be laid off at least within the next two years.
Already, hundreds of disgruntled workers are at the throat of the Managing Director (MD) of the bank, Mr. Odun Odunfa, accusing him of high-handedness and arrogance.
And sensing the plot to get rid of them, the workers, in a letter to the MD, through their Labour Consultants, Senyo M. Adjabeng, SPHR, did not only reject the termination offers from the bank, but also threatened to take the matter to the Labour Commission, if need be.
Last week, the bank offered the retrenched staff a 1 and half month basic salary of each year served, a 20 percent discount on their loans, a one month basic salary in Lieu and a GH¢2,000; but the staff described the package as an insult to their intelligence, particularly when they were not given the mandatory three month notice of termination.
“We are under the instruction of our clients to put you on due notice that the above package is unacceptable to them in its entirety. And suffice to say that the redundancy process is provided for by the Labour Laws of Ghana and require a notice period of at least three (3) months prior to any redundancy exercise contemplated by an employer.
The Chief Labour Officer is also required to be notified three (3) months prior to the completed redundancy exercise.
Take due notice that our clients expect strict conformance with due process for redundancy under the Labour Laws of Ghana while we work to come to an amicable settlement of a fair and equitable negotiation package”, the letter stated.
The strongly-worded letter stressed further: “We suggest ever so strongly and vehemently that you put all redundancy processes and severance payments on hold to pave way for negotiations in accordance with section 65 of the Labour Act, 2003(At 651).
We will deliberate and discuss your proposed redundancy packages with our clients and submit a counter proposal in the shortest possible time….By copy of this letter, the Chief Labour Officer is duly notified of the redundancy exercise”.
Presently, reports say there is fear and panic among a cross-section of First Atlantic Bank staff. According to them, since Mr. Odunfa became MD/CEO in 2016, many people have resigned, stressing that within just four months into the recent merger of FAB and Energy Commercial Bank, nearly 40 people have resigned with, many people expected to follow.
The workers described the environment at the bank as unfriendly, hostile and intimidating. As at the time of filing, our sources say three of the bank’s branches, namely Tamale, Takoradi and Suame in Kumasi, have been closed down, even though they are profitable. The sources further hint of plans to again close down 12 Energy Commercial Bank branches which are also profitable.