Threatened by the announced merger between Access and Diamond Banks, the Association of Senior Staff of Banks, Insurance and Financial Institutions says it will protect its members’ interest in the merged banks.
The News Agency of Nigeria recalls that the board of Diamond Bank Plc on December 15 announced its merger with Access Bank Plc, which is expected to be completed in the first half of 2019.
This spurred fears within the Nigerian banking industry as many workers feared that it would lead to another round of job losses.
Oyinkan Olasanoye, ASSBIFI President, told NAN in Lagos on Wednesday that the association had written the management of Access Bank.
Olasanoye said that ASSBIFI sought audience with the bank’s management to discuss modalities that would ensure maximum protection for members in the face of the merger.
She said where staff rationalisation became inevitable, the collective bargaining agreement would be observed and respected.
“The union is hopeful it will have a fruitful discussion with Access Bank where they have unionised members,” the ASSBIFI president said.
The president of the association said the union was aware of the implication of a merger or acquisition on job security.
She said the situation informed the decision to liaise with the management to protect workers from being shortchanged or victimised if it could no longer keep all the staff.
Olasanoye said though the union did not have members in Diamond Bank, it would equally seek ways to ensure that workers in the bank were not unjustly treated.
She added: “In some cases we have branches of Diamond and Access Banks standing next to each other or even sharing fences.
“It is possible by the time the merger is fully consummated and the two banks become one, the management may close some of the branches which can result in staff rationalisation.
“But the union has written a letter to Access Bank where it has members, seeking its audience to protect the workers and to ensure adherence to collective bargaining agreement.”
However, a Diamond Bank staff who wanted anonymity said workers were in the dark about what would happen next after the merger.
The staff said since the rumour of the merger broke in November, workers had been in trepidation, especially as the merger seemed to be more in favour of Access Bank.
Access Bank had acquired the defunct Intercontinental Bank in 2012 and has emerged Nigeria’s largest lender after N74.6 billion merger deal with Diamond Bank, with a combined total assets of N6 trillion.