Even before the decision of HFC Bank to declare its entire transport unit redundant takes effect, news over more redundancies in the coming days have taken the centre stage at the bank’s corridors across the country.
This development is presently brewing uneasy calm among staff especially, those at the teller collection unit as the news lurking has it that, that unit is the next to be outsourced after the drivers.
This redundancy is being created as part of an initiative to pave way for the bank to outsource other personnel from different recruiting companies to fill those positions in order to cut cost.
As part of measures to demand proper redundancy procedures from their employers, the drivers have rejected the one month dismissal notice letter from the bank.
The drivers subsequently have called for the support of the parent union the Industrial and Commercial Workers Union (ICU), that had since taken over and negotiating with management of the bank.
These events that unfolded a couple of days ago have sent shivers down the spine of employees at the bank’s branches across the country.
Staff interviewed by the paper, in Accra and other regions, most of whom prefer to be anonymous, stated that they were contemplating their future, as they were uncertain with the next move of the bank’s management.
A visit to the bank’s headquarters in Accra and other branches on Friday (August 4) show cased a pensiveness of the workers at the bank’s offices.
A driver at the bank’s headquarters in Accra, who attributed the situation to the staff’s decision to join the ICU, said “that would not prevent us from exercising our constitutional mandate of joining a parent trade union.”
“Management can decide to dismiss all of us but as far as they go through the proper lay-off procedure as stipulated by the labour law, we do not have any issue with their actions but if they come through the same channel they came last week we will face them.”
He added that “luckily for us we have successfully joined the ICU and we expect management to know better under the current situation.”
A teller with the bank expressed worry about the latest turn of events after a surprise meeting between the management and drivers of the bank.
“Though it is being rumored around that our unit which is the teller collection department is the next to be declared redundant I do not know what is in store for me as far as my work is concern,” he said.
“The situation is such that I have no idea what will happen to me or even my colleagues should this rumor come to light,” he added.
ICU calls for calm
In the words of the General Secretary of the ICU, Mr Solomon Kotei, none of the workers were safe with regards to employment under the present position of the management of the bank.
Calling for calm , he said the ICU would ensure that the bank went through the proper procedure in respect of the labour law in the country to lay-off whoever they wanted to send home.
“Coming under section 65 of the Labour Act, even if you want to declare workers redundant you are supposed to notify the chief labour officer three months prior to that effect and this has not been done,” he said.
Mr Kotei said the ICU had begun negotiations with the management of the bank but should that fail it would go to the labour commission and subsequently seek legal redress if the need arose.
Though the management of the bank were not immediately available for response, a video sighted by the paper, showed the Managing Director of the bank, Mr Robert Le-Hunte explaining the rationale behind the lay-offs.
According to him, management needed to lay-off a section of the staff in order to keep the bank in operation. This is part of effort adopted by the bank to reduce its escalating cost of operations.
“We have to be profitable in order to pay back depositors their money as well as to run the bank. People want interest rate on lending to drop yet any time the rate drops one per cent, the bank loses an estimated amount of GH¢13million.”