By Omoh, Gabriel, Business Editor
The reform being carried out in the Central Bank of Nigeria has pitched the management against the workers. Many of the workers are poise for a show down with the apex bank. Most of the workers are incensed by the frequent changes in the banks policy toward the welfare of the workers.
The most recent is the unilateral closure of the CBN primary school which both the Parent Teachers Association and the CBN staffers say is uncalled for. Some of the top management staff are grieved that the CBN governor while addressing the workers ask them to take a nap as they may not understand what he is saying. They say that the bank top management came up with a policy of early and voluntary retirement which many had applied to take advantage of but that of the non target group was withdrawn when the management was overwhelmed by the over 4,000 employee of the bank that put in their letter for early retirement.
The CBN Governor Professor Charles Soludo on assumption of office as governor introduced reforms in which he said the CBN will devote its resources to its core functions. Other non core area he said are to be scrapped or out sourced.
Following this development the CBN on November 1, 2004 wrote to the staffers of the bank through the Director Human Resources stating
‚ÄúIt would be recalled that an Early and Voluntary Retirement Scheme was implemented in the Bank for the first time in 2002. The Scheme was designed and implemented in response to its demand by the staff side of the Joint Consultative Council (JCC) as an acceptable way to address the pervasive frustration arising from unfulfilled promotion expectations.
Vacancy had become a serious limiting factor to generous promotions in an ageing Bank and even today the situation has not changed.
‚ÄúAgainst the backdrop of an imminent contracted structure of the Bank with redesigned work processes that would be highly automated under the current change programme, another early retirement exercise has become inevitable. Besides, the BankÃìs current staff strength of 6,144 is considered bloated and top heavy. This exercise is intended for targeted groups of staff in the Bank. However, other staff who do not fall within the targeted groups could also opt to take advantage of the scheme subject to the ManagementÃìs discretion.
‚ÄúThe Management fully considered both the interest of the Bank and that of its very loyal and dedicated employees in deciding on workforce reduction through an early retirement incentive package.
‚ÄúDetails of the scheme are as stated below: The targeted group;
*Senior staff who do not possess the minimum qualification of first university degree or its equivalent such as HND or other professional qualifications as stated in the CBN Staff Manual (mandatory). However, those who enrolled in higher institutions and have notified the Bank prior to the commencement of this scheme, and are still within the approved period as shown in their admission letters are allowed to continue if they are showing good progress provided they enrolled not later than 31st December, 2003;
*those whose duties/services are no longer required consequent upon the restructuring, the monetization policy and those whose duties would be outsourced (mandatory);
*all those who had been warned after disciplinary process since 1996 as approved by Management are given the option to voluntarily retire;
*those who have stagnated on their grades for at least eight (8) years are allowed to voluntarily retire under the scheme if they so wish;
*those who have one year or less to retire may voluntarily exit; and
*those who fall outside the targeted groups may be allowed to voluntarily take advantage of the scheme but subject to the ManagementÃìs approval so as not to disrupt the BankÃìs operations unduly‚Äù.
According to the CBN memo
*The scheme shall last for one month, from 1st to 30th November, 2004. All exiting staff including those who fall into the mandatory groups are required to give one month notice
‚Äú*applications submitted within the period shall be treated as having given the required three (3) monthsÃì notice for disengagement as provided for in the BankÃìs contract of employment;
*staff on application shall continue to work until acceptance is communicated to them in writing;
*pre-retirement workshops would be organized for those who may opt to take advantage of the scheme.
*all applications for exit should be addressed to the Director of Human Resources through the respective departmental Directors.
‚ÄúThe members of staff are advised to note that at the lapse of the offer, the Management will reserve the right to retire any member of staff who falls within the targeted groups but failed to put in his/her letter of resignation without extending the benefits of the incentive package to such staff.
The bank had said that all categories of staff exiting under the scheme will first of all be entitled to their normal retirement benefits of gratuity, end of service entitlement and productivity bonus irrespective of the month of exit.
In addition to the above the CBN offered the Staff ‚Äúwhose duties/services either no longer exist or would be outsourced will be paid two years salary and one year allowances up front; those without minimum qualification will be paid one year salary up front; those with one year or less to retire will be paid the balance of their salary and allowances; those who have stagnated on their grades for at least 8 years, those who have been warned since 1996, the medically unfit and other volunteers will be paid two years salary and one year allowances up front; 30 per cent of loan balances are to be deducted up front from entitlements and the balance of 70 per cent to be recovered at 2 per cent interest by equal monthly installments, within the five-year guaranteed pension period; eligible staff shall qualify for pension irrespective of the fact that they may not have attained 45 years of age; since pension is guaranteed for five (5) years, staff who desire would be paid two years pension up front to enable them have enough capital for immediate investment. After this period, they shall resort to monthly pension; retirees and their spouses would enjoy the present medical facilities for three months and thereafter, start receiving the existing monetized medical allowances appropriate to their grades; and all staff affected who had been allocated lap-tops would be allowed to purchase them at 25 per cent of the book value.
‚ÄúFinally, in approving this package, the Board of Directors was very mindful of the cost of the whole exercise in view of the declining revenue profile of the Bank. The implementation of the scheme will be with effect from 30th November, 2004″.
As result of these provision it was gathered that over 4,000 of the bank employee applied to leave which would have led to the collapse of the apex bank. The CBN it was learnt quickly in another memo reversed the earlier one removing ‚Äúthose who fall outside the targeted group that may be allowed to voluntarily take advantage of the scheme. The CBN it was learnt has cut down on the number of months allowance from seven months to three stating that the bank is broke as it no longer collect interest on ways and means granted to government which the bank claim had be its main source of revenue.
CBN staffer also cite the case of the primary school which they said earlier Governors had stated explicitly that on the event of monetisation of allowances and incentives the school should be left to run. They said that CBN ought to have handed over the school to the teachers to run instead of out right closure and dismissal of all the teachers in the school.