After some weeks of donating One Billion naira to the Federal Government of Nigeria as part of her support to the fight against the Coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19), Access Bank on Thursday sacked several workers and slashed salaries of retained staff by 40 percent starting from the month of April 2020.
The affected workers, reported to be more than 800, cutting across branches of the bank throughout the country were secretly dismissed with singular reason of not needing their services any longer.
The most affected staff comprises of contract staff, office assistants, drivers, front desk tellers, account and clearing support staff, customer service officers and marketing units.
The salaries of retained staff were slashed between 20%-40% and according to the management level of each staff.
A reliable source said that Access bank, just like other banks are facing threat of rising bad-debt levels as crash in oil prices coincide with the Covid-19 pandemic that has halted businesses.
Another undisclosed source said the exercise was based on the outcome of recent staff appraisals which set a baseline to assess staff performance.
According to the source, “it’s a usual practice where those who failed to meet some key performance indicators and a scorecard spelt out at the beginning of the year are temporarily or permanently relieved of their jobs.
Also, there was a leaked on social media video showing Access Bank CEO, Herbert Wigwe, talking about layoffs and pay cuts.
Wigwe lamented the disruption caused by the highly infectious coronavirus, and said the bank will not need as many workers as it currently has on its payroll. He said this will need significant trimming to balance the books.
“We probably don’t need as many security men as required, especially as we don’t have all our branches open between now and December.
“We don’t need all the security men, cleaners, tellers, etc. That number of staff, which represents 75% of our staff strength, I think is one that we basically need to speak to their employers with the view to getting them to rationalise to the levels that we think will be necessary to basically sustain a lean, but actually customer service oriented institution.”
Wigwe said discussions are already ongoing with recruiting agencies and contracting firms on how to cut back on the workforce.
Shareholders of the bank commended the board of directors, management and staff for recording an impressive results and paying increased dividend for the year ended December 31, 2019.
The shareholders gave the commendation at the 31st Annual General Meeting (AGM) of Access Bank Plc was held in Lagos by proxy due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Access Bank Plc ended the year with a profit before tax (PBT) of N115.378 billion, a profit after tax of N97.5 billion and paid a final dividend of 40 kobo per share to bring the total dividend for the year to 65 kobo.