Ex-employees tackle Sterling Bank over alleged N267m entitlement

Posted by News Express | 20 March 2020 | 270 times

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Nine former employees of Sterling Bank Plc on Thursday asked a National Industrial Court (NIC) in Lagos to direct the bank to pay them N267million redundancy entitlement.

The claimants are Mr Wale Adedeji, Mr Jephter Amadi, Mr Saka Kilani, Mrs Oderinde Usoro, Mr Paul Leonard and Mr Stephen Adegboye.

The others are Mrs Eunice Abiodun, (also suing on behalf of her late husband Abiodun Popoola), Mr Dominic Isunuoya and Mr Godwin Nwaokoro.

The sole defendant in the suit is Sterling Bank Plc.

In the suit marked NICN/LA/84/2012, the claimants are demanding payment of N267 million as redundancy emoluments due to them, following consolidation of banks and consequent termination of their appointments.

The claimants also want the court to order the defendant to also pay them nine months’ salaries for breach of payment of two months’ salary in lieu of notice of disengagement.

When the case pending before Justice Rabin Gwandu was mentioned, the claimants’ witness, Mr Leonard Paul, was in court.

Claimants counsel, Mr Gbadebo Oyebade, told the court that the witness was present as directed by the court while the defence witness was absent.

He also urged the court to adopt claimants’ statement as being the truth and grant the reliefs sought.

Besides, claimant counsel tendered, through the witness, pleaded documentary evidence, and they were all admitted and marked by the court as exhibits.

The court adjourned until June 18 for continuation of trial and ordered all witnesses to be present so as to conclude trial.

In their statement of claim deposed to by Mr Paul Leaonard (fifth claimant), the claimants  averred that they  were former staff of Indo Nig. Bank Ltd., which merged with four others to form Sterling Bank Plc.

They claimed that following a consolidation policy by the Central Bank of Nigeria and the consequent merger of banks, there was an agreement between the management of Indo bank and the bank workers’ unions.

The unions are Association of Senior Bank Insurance and Financial Institution (ASUBIFE) and the National Union of Banks Insurance and Financial Institution Employees (NUBIFE).

The claimants averred that the agreement was to the effect that no staff will be laid off as a result of the consolidation, but that all former employees of Indo would be transferred to Sterling Bank.

They averred that under Redundancy in Article 5 of the agreement dated May 4, 2005, and June 1, 2005, a redundant employee of less than five years of service shall be entitled to 12 weeks emolument for each completed year of service.

They said that it was also provided that employees of more than five years but less than 15 years would be entitled to 14 weeks emoluments while those above 15 years would be entitled to 16 weeks emoluments.

The claimants said that they were transferred to Sterling Bank on Jan. 1, 2006, adding that on Feb. 2, 2006, they were issued the bank’s policy manual extract which stipulated that monetary policy for any redundant staff would be “three months’ gross salary for number of accredited years or one year gross compensation whichever is higher”.

According to the claimants, on Sept. 29, 2006, they were informed that their services with the defendant was no more required.

The noted that it was barely nine months after they were transferred to Sterling Bank and less than two years after Indo bank management reached an agreement with the unions.

According to them, the defendant refused to pay their redundancy benefits as stipulated, in spite of repeated demands, but paid another staff of one of the other merger banks N30 million as compensation for loss of employment.

The claimants are, therefore, asking for N267 million as their redundancy entitlements as at Sept. 29, 2006, excluding sums paid as ex-gratia package. (NAN)




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