Business News of Friday, 4 December 2015
The Union of Industry Commerce and Financial Workers (UNICOF) has called on the management of the Agricultural Development Bank (ADB) to reinstate 13 dismissed workers of the bank because their dismissal was unjustified
At a press conference in Accra last Tuesday, the Deputy General Secretary of UNICOF, Mr John Amegashie, said investigations by the union revealed that the offence for which the workers were dismissed was an operational issue which had been approved by workers and management of the bank.
“It was, therefore, surprising that the bank will hand-pick the 13 staffs for disciplinary action and further dismiss them,” he said.
Last month, the management of ADB dismissed 13 relationship officers of the bank for breaching the bank’s policies and procedures on the clearing of cheques of some customers.
According to the dismissal letter issued to the affected workers, the disciplinary committee set up to investigate the matter reached a conclusion that the 13 workers “gave false narration and concealed from the management of the bank the true reason for the return of some cheques of customers thereby breaching policies and procedures of the bank”.
Mr Amegashie, however, described the dismissal as a move orchestrated by the management of the bank to victimise workers of ABD in order to undermine, weaken and disband the union in the bank. “All the workers were members of the union and in some cases union leaders at the bank.”
“We are reliably informed that the management is aiding the formation of a rival union and is sending signals to staff to withdraw from UNICOF and join management’s favoured union or face the wrath of the Managing Director,” he added.
In response to the queries that led to their dismissal, Mr Amegashie said the affected workers indicated in their defence that their actions were in line with the banking regulations stipulated by the Bank of Ghana.
“Their actions were also contained in the operational manual of the bank. Management, however, hauled them to a disciplinary committee hearing, after which the workers were interdicted for further investigations and finally dismissed,” he said.
According to him, UNICOF wrote to the bank requesting for the disciplinary committee report on the dismissal, but the bank informed them that it was premature for them to make such a request.
Touching on how management of the bank had dealt with the issue, Mr Amegashie explained that the position and posture of the management, especially the managing director, was “unfortunate and needs redirection”.
“The Managing Director has adopted a kind of Rambo style annihilation of his enemies by threatening to fire all these workers without recourse to the UNICOF. Not even an apology rendered by us in good faith, aimed at enabling all the parties to move on and concentrate on the productivity and positive public image for the bank, will assuage the Managing Director from exacting his victor’s justice,” he stated.
To solve the impasse between the management of the bank and the workers, he called on the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations and other stakeholders to work together to ensure that peace and harmony prevailed at the bank.