Polaris Bank crisis deepens as meeting with union leaders ends in deadlock

The crisis rocking Polaris Bank is yet to settle as the meeting between its management and the National Union of Banks, Insurance and Financial Institutions Employees (NUBIFIE) leaders over the sack of its members on Wednesday failed to reach an agreement.

The bone of contention was the insistence by the union that all the sacked workers be reinstated to allow for unfettered and frank duscussion. But, this did not go down well with the bank’s representatives who rather would prefer the workers remain disengaged while their fate will be discussed.

It was gathered that besides the contentious sacking of the workers, there are other issues like disparity in remuneration between the old and new staff, which has brought the morale of the affected staff to the lowest ebb.

The implication is that the union which picketed the headquarters of the Bank on Tuesday may resume their action and possibly more daring as they dispatched their members to the national body of Labour to put its weight behind it to cripple activities of the bank so as to force them to rescind its decision.

The Secretary-General, NUBIFIE, Mohammed Sheikh, disclosed on Wednesday in Lagos that the meeting ended with nothing tangible to hold on to. Sheikh accused the bank management of sacking workers without following due process required by labour laws.

The bank, however, had handed the union a letter, inviting it to a meeting to discuss and negotiate on the way forward.

Sheikh said: “We just finished the meeting, but unfortunately, the meeting could not conclude because of the fact that the demands we put across to them, the management said it may not be able to carry out the demands.

“The demand that went across was for us to have a level playing ground for negotiation.

A statement signed by the bank’s Group Head, Brand Management and Corporate Communication, Nduneche Ezurike, however said that it had engaged and would continue to engage the union to resolve any lingering labour matters.

“Polaris Bank remains committed to fostering a harmonious working relationship and ensuring the well-being of its employees,” the bank said.