About 400 members of staff who were let go in the recent downsizing exercise by Diamond Bank have protested the non-payment of their severance package which they are entitled to.
The workers based in Kaduna decried their treatment by Diamond Bank and were of the opinion that Diamond Bank should not be different from other banks who have already paid the severance package owed to their workers in line with the Labour Laws.
Not only that, the workers are have also accused Diamond Bank of trying to make it difficult for them to find work by claiming that they were let go due to poor performance instead of downsizing. They said this was untrue as many of them had excellent evaluations while engaged by Diamond Bank.
The representative for the protesting ex-staffers said they could not let this happen to them.
“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 is 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 representative also said 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 staffers pleaded with the government to prohibit other financial institutions and organisations from arbitrarily firing people at the slightest economic downturn.