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Opinions of Wednesday, 29 August 2018

Columnist: Daily Graphic

Assist ex staff of collapsed banks

Hundreds of workers of the seven collapsed banks are being sent home, in spite of initial assurances by the Governor of the Bank of Ghana (BoG) that there would be no job losses when the central bank revoked the licences of the banks.

The affected staff, who are mostly tellers and field operators responsible for the collection of deposits, have been asked to hand over all assets and documents on all clients’ accounts to the Consolidated Bank by September 7.

About 1,700 employees of the newly established Consolidated Bank Ghana (CBG) Limited will lose their jobs by the end of September this year.

Out of the number, 700 were mobile bankers of the erstwhile BEIGE Bank, while 1,000 were former employees of the Royal Bank, the Construction Bank, uniBank and the Sovereign Bank who were transferred to the CBG under the purchase and assumption (P&A) agreement approved by the BoG on August 1, 2018.

According to sources close to the CBG, the job cut was part of the business rationalisation programme of the new bank to reduce its current operational cost of about GH¢60 million per month and reduce staff numbers by a minimum of 1,700.



The bank’s outlets are also expected to reduce to about 120 from the current 191 branches under a far-reaching exercise meant to make the state-owned lender efficient and agile.

Although the Daily Graphic commends the BoG for the bold move to step in to protects depositors’ funds from being dissipated, we are concerned about the fate of the hundreds of workers who are being laid off.

We are also saddened by the reported death of some ex-workers of the defunct UT and Capital banks due to the hardships they had to endure after losing their jobs.

Even more heartbreaking is the fact that over 800 retrenched staff of the UT and the Capital banks were made to sign a document signaling the preparedness of the GCB Bank to pay them their end-of-service benefits (ESB) but so far nothing has been heard about that.

Some of the affected workers have been following up on their compensation and ESB at their labour unions for some time now but that has not yielded the desired results.

The Daily Graphic wants to appeal to the government to step in to assist the ex-workers of the defunct banks to access their compensation packages and other emoluments to ensure that those former workers are not worse off due to the action taken by the central bank.

This appeal has become necessary because for each of the affected staff, there are about four or five dependants whose living conditions would be affected.
Again, the social and economic cost will be unbearable for their families, communities and the country as a whole.

These affected staff, when left unattended to, may add to the worsening unemployment situation currently facing the country.

The paper also appeals to the labour unions, such as UNICOF and the ICU, to step up their game in finding reliefs for the affected workers.

Alternatively, the government can absorb some of them into one of its flagship employment projects, NaBCo, a development which will go a long way to bring some relief to the workers of the defunct banks.

We are confident that when these are done, it will help bring the smiles to the faces of the affected staff who are casualties of the defunct banks.