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Union Bank proscribes senior staff union

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By Stanley Oronsaye
14 January, 2011 03
Union Bank has announced the ban of its senior staff association. This is the aftermath of the December 15, 2010 industrial action which crippled operations nationwide for about three days.
The bank made this known in a terse press statement release yesterday in Lagos captioned, ‘Withdrawal of recognition of Union Bank Association of Senior Staff (UBASS), Association of Senior Staff of Banks, Insurance and Financial Institutions (NLC Affiliate) (ASSBIFI).'
"Following the unlawful operations of UBASS and ASSBIFI, Union Bank of Nigeria Plc has withdrawn its recognition of the above named trade union bodies with immediate effect. All concerned have been duly advised. The general public should please take note," the statement read.
The other union, National Union of Banks, Insurance and Financial Institutions Employees (NUBIFIE), was, however, not affected by the proscription.
Collective agreement
The 94-year old financial institution, with a workforce of over 8,000, said it will take disciplinary action against any staff that has been found to breach the terms of their employment.
"Some staff were found to be exposing false and confidential customer information to the public, including shareholders. In the collective agreement, it is stated there, the dos and don'ts of members. When there is no rule, everybody becomes lawless. We will do the proper thing. We will not victimise anybody," Mrs. Osibodu said, adding that 315 staff were promoted in December, 300 staff are facing disciplinary action for various infractions, while some have received commendation.
However, ASSBIFI, in its response, said the bank has no constitutional basis for withdrawing recognition of the union. Its response letter, signed by the national president, Princewill Ojeh, and secretary general, Obukese Orere, stated that the issue of withdrawal of recognition is null and void.
"Recognition of Trade Unions by various managements is compulsory and automatic and not a choice or wish. Trade Unions Act No 22 chapter 437, third schedule part B (7) of 1978 as amended refers."
According to ASSBIFI, membership of unions is guaranteed by Section 40, 1999 Constitution on freedom of association.
"No organisation has a unilateral power to withdraw recognition from a trade union registered under the Trade Union Act," and urged the bank to withdraw the proscription letter.
Union Bank gets N239b AMCON funds
Union Bank said it has received N239 billion from the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) for the purchase of its non performing loans in the first phase of bailout.
This is in addition to N120 billion capital injection received from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) when it intervened in 2009 following the sack of the former managing director.
Group managing director, Funke Osibodu, at a briefing in Lagos yesterday, said the funds may not be the final intervention as the bank would conclude reconciliation of its accounts in the next one week. She said the bank had a negative capital of N254 billion and would still need about N154 billion to move up to ground zero, after which a core investor can come in.
"This N154 billion will be covered by they (AMCON) taking equity in the bank to that level. We place this at the table, on the terms of the equity with AMCON, they provide the money they become the shareholder technically and then we are now at ground zero," Mrs. Osibodu said.
She said at this point, a new core investor can come in. "The minimum capital that may be required is N100 billion for an institution of our size."
She further said the bank was already talking to new core investors. "We have a preferred core investor and we have a standby core investor. Out of all that have indicated interest, we have narrowed down to two. We still have to negotiate the broad terms of engagement."

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