No fewer than 300 sacked Access Bank staff of November 2020 batch, in the South East states protested in Onitsha, Anambra State over alleged illegal dismissal without benefits.
The protesters who marched through some major roads and finally landed at the gate of Basilica of Most Holy Trinity, Onitsha, said they were in the church premises for God to hear their prayers and not man.
Some of them carried placards with the inscriptions, “CBN/NLC/ Bankers Committee come to our rescue; Access Bank at it again, sacking staff without lay-off benefits; Access Bank mystery shopping video, amidst Covid-19 Access Bank, sacked three times in 2020; Working Monday to Sunday no benefits for 10 years; over 300 sacked in South East on November 2020 without benefits; Access Bank shows us the mystery video clip you claimed you used to rate our performance and sacked us,” among others.
Addressing newsmen during the protest, their spokesman, Mr. Emmanuel Afamefuna Okoye, said, “I worked at Access Bank Main market branch Onitsha, I was among the over 300 Access Bank staff November 2020 batch dismissed in the five southeast states of Anambra, Imo, Enugu, Ebonyi and Abia without giving us tangible reasons and benefits for our dismissal.
“We are not protesting to paint the bank black or say anything negative but it is not fair for somebody to work for you for years and you ask the person to just go like that; somebody that worked for you for years, Monday to Sunday, which I am one of them.
“CBN gave its directive that no bank staff should be sacked especially at this Covid-19 pandemic but Access bank has sacked on three occasions in 2020. They did the first one in February, the second in April, and the third in which we are involved in November, making it over 300 staff sacked in Southeast.
“They only gave us one month’s salary. What will one month salary do to people that are the breadwinners with families in this economic hardship?
“They claimed to have taken a mysterious shopping video to rate our poor performance with customers, let them show us the video clip if what they are saying is the truth.
“We are not protesting to paint the Bank black or say anything negative but it is not fair for somebody to work for you for years and you ask the person to just go like that,” he said.
One of the sacked staff of the Access Bank staff in the Southeast states in Onitsha, Anambra State reportedly collapsed while protesting alleged dismissal without benefits.
The victim, Miss Ochulor Kelechi, said the dismissal came to her as a shock as she had never been found wanting in the course of his assignments.
She said, “I was one of those November 2020 batch sacked by Access Bank. I worked at Access Bank Azikiwe avenue Aba. When I asked what our offense was, they said the mystery shopping offense. So I will like to see the video clip or be shown the results where I did badly.
“I collapsed because of the frustration and depression that I collapsed. You know I came from Aba this morning to join my sacked colleagues.
“Besides, I’ve not been feeling fine since the sack and because of the importance of the protest I insisted on coming to Onitsha and join my colleagues in the protest to get our benefits”, she decried.
Meanwhile, Access Bank, while denying sacking the workers, said they were disengaged by their outsourcing firms.
The Bank’s Head of Media Relations, Mr. Abdul Imoyo, stated that the protest was an appeal to the Bank to intervene in the decision of the outsourcing companies.
He said: “It was not Access Bank that sacked them. The protest was about them calling on Access Bank to intervene in the termination of their appointments with their employers. It is about their relationship with their employers and because they work for Access Bank, they’re asking Access Bank to intervene and we have called their employers.