By Gifty Arthur

The decision by management of Intercontinental Bank of Ghana (IBG) and Access Bank to merge as one entity may have been thought as a wise decision; however, the action unfortunately seems not to be yielding the desired result as workers of IBG are crying foul.

This is after the assurance by IBG that Access Bank was prepared to absorb all the workers of IBG with the same terms and conditions as was contained with IBG policies.

The workers totaling about 70 have resolved not to work with the new employers Access Bank, due to what they call discrepancies which may in future lead to redundancy which may not inure to their benefit.

According to the workers who spoke to The Herald on condition of anonymity, during the bank’s merging, they were handed over a letter on IBG letterhead which stated categorically among others that all staff will be absorbed into Access Bank on the terms and conditions of IBG.

They said the Human Resource policies of IBG stated clearly that in case of redundancy, each employer is entitled to at least three months gross salary for every year served plus a ‘golden handshake’.

However the workers argued that after the completion of the whole process, management of Access Bank surfaced this month with another absorption letter dated March 12, requiring that IBG workers accept the letter which is intending to scrub the previous letter by IBG or, they be considered as haven resigned from the bank.

In the said letter by Access Bank, the workers explained that their engagement with the new employers will be governed by Access Bank’s Human Resource Policy Handbook.

After a careful study by the workers however, they detected that there were vast differences which they consider will constitute diminution of their terms and conditions with the bank should the unexpected happen in future.

Sensing danger, some concerned workers replied management of the bank requesting for further clarification on the issue but they were not satisfactorily responded to pushing them to, engage the services of a lawyer.

The Council here again wrote to management requesting them to negotiate Redundancy Payment by March 21 but once again, management failed to reply the letter despite threats to take the issue to the Labour Commission should they fail to respond.

The workers then filed petition with the Labour Commission, copying the bank for hearing but even before Labour Commission could arrange for talks, the workers claimed profiles of the workers who refused to sign the absorption letter were disabled from the system while others were physically driven out of their offices.

A complaint to the Labour Commission ruled that all disabled profiles be reinstated and staff allowed to work without intrusion.

Before this directive is carried out, the Bank called the concerned staff in a meeting last Thursday to warn them to stay out of the bank’s premises as they intend to contest the rule by the Commission.

To add insult to injury, the Bank has issued letters titled ‘Resignation’ to all affected staff that by not signing the Absorption Letter they are deemed to have resigned.

The workers claim that their checks from Nigeria indicate that Access Bank paid higher terms of redundancy to Intercontinental Bank employees in Nigeria but did not want to reciprocate the same thing here even though they know they, the workers very well deserve it.

The affected workers reveal that they have evidence that shows that the bank’s lawyers Mr Bentsi Enchill, Letsa and Ankomah had advised them in their Due Diligence Report that staff who suffer diminution in their terms and conditions will have to be entitled to Redundancy package but they are refusing to activate that.

The Managing Director of Access Bank, Dolapo Ogundimu, the workers alleged, has been going round compelling and threatening affected staff to sign the said letter through mails against their wish. Some staff were called in the night and were coerced to sign the letters.

The workers believe that the bank’s Corporate Communications Head and host of Joy FM’s current affairs programme ‘News File’, Mrs. Matilda Asante-Asiedu, is the reason why the issue has not been given the necessary attention in the media as they are tempted to believe that she might have prevailed upon the media to turn a blind eye to the issue.

Source: The Herald


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