The Union of Industry, Commerce and Finance Workers (UNICOF) is slipping into a leadership crisis following declining confidence in its leadership under the current General Secretary, Senanu Amegashie.
The Union’s silence amidst a spate of termination of appointments in GCB Bank, hitting workers like bullets from gunmen on a shooting spree, has heightened insecurity and tension amidst fear and panic of which numbers get shown the exit in subsequent rounds of terminations. Those currently targeted are workers of the former UT Bank and Capital Bank, who were absorbed in the purchase and assumption exercise by GCB Bank. The workers feel used and dumped after undertaking a seamless integration of systems to preserve transaction records of customers for their continued operations.
In this crisis situation, the Headquarters of the Union pretends to be unaware of these developments, obviously playing the proverbial Ostrich. The affected workers have accordingly sought the intervention of a Labour Consultant, Seth Abloso, to lead them in addressing their concerns. The Worker has sighted a letter from the Consultant to the Bank, dated 18th March, 2019 which proposed a meeting for Thursday 21st March 2019.
An interesting coincidence is that the Bank’s Professional and Managerial Staff Union (PMSU) of UNICOF by a letter also dated 5th March, 2019 to Management called for a halt to the terminations whilst also calling for a meeting on 7th March, 2019 to address the developments. The Worker is informed by unimpeachable sources that the two proposed meetings did not take place.
Meanwhile, the workers have written to the General Secretary of UNICOF to stay away from their case. The workers were compelled to write to UNICOF to stay away because Management had asked Seth Abloso to channel the concerns of the ex-workers through UNICOF, whose loud silence the Bank appeared to be comfortable with. The GCB Bank is simultaneously undertaking a recruitment exercise. Prospective employees were sighted entering and leaving a Sun Lodge Hotel in Accra, which was chosen for the exercise. No public advertisements have been sighted in any newspaper about a recruitment exercise by GCB Bank, except for the GCB Bank directional sign on the hotel room designated for the interviews.
According to classfmonline.com, at an August, 2018 forum by the Danquah Institute on the topic, “The Banking Sector Clean up – Are depositors safe?”, the Minister of Finance, Mr.Ken Ofori-Atta was reported to have stated in his presentation that the decision to revoke the licenses of seven banks was taken to save about 50,000 white collar jobs in the Financial Sector. He also added that so far GHC8 billion of tax payers’ funds had been used to protect the depositors and jobs.
In a blow to ex-workers of Standard Chartered Bank ,which damage is yet to be addressed, UNICOF agreed with the Bank to cut off all years served beyond seventeen and half (17.5) years in the calculation of the benefits of Senior Staff who have served the bank between twenty-three and half years (23.5)years and thirty-six(36) years. In suit no.IL/0016/2016, Theophilus Addo and 9 other senior ex-members of Staff of Standard Chartered challenged that agreement. The judgment delivered on 30th January, 2019 did not alter the terms of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed on 22nd January, 2016 by which the Union agreed with the Bank to cut off years of service. In the course of the trial, the UNICOF joined the Bank as a defendant against the ex-workers.