Economic Recession: Banks, Insurance Firms Slash Workers’ Salaries

Dayo Oketola, Nike Popoola, ‘Nonye Ben-Nwankwo, Fisayo Falodi, Gbenro Adeoye, Tunde Ajaja, and Jesusegun Alagbe

Hit by the current economic recession in the country, most money deposit banks and insurance firms have slashed their workers’ salaries by between 20 and 50 per cent.

Investigations by Saturday PUNCH revealed that Diamond Bank Plc, Heritage Bank Plc, Zenith Bank Plc, First Bank Plc and Wema Bank Plc have reduced their workers’ salaries as of August 31, 2016. This has also been confirmed by management sources and workers in the affected banks.

While Diamond Bank was said to have slashed salaries by 30 per cent, Heritage by 30 per cent, First Bank and Wema Bank workers’ salaries were slashed by 20 per cent each.

It was learnt that the banks tied the decision to cut salaries to workers’ ability to meet deposit targets, which have become unrealistically high in recent time. Hence, workers who failed to meet their targets had their salaries slashed.
Investigations also revealed that some insurance companies have extended the targets of premium generation to their employees.

Before, the marketing departments of the underwriting firms and insurance agents were responsible for generating premium for the companies.

Due to the economic crisis in the country, many insurance firms increased the targets for their marketing departments’ workers with threats of not paying them salaries if they failed to meet it (targets). As such, insurance workers who failed to meet their premium targets, according to industry sources, also had their salaries slashed.
An insurance employee, who spoke to one of our correspondents, said, “Before, it was only the marketers that they used to give targets to. Now, some of us also have targets ranging between N40, 000 and N100, 000 monthly and our promotion and salaries are tied to our performance.”

A Zenith Bank worker, who simply identified herself as Nkem, confirmed the slash in salaries.

Nkem said she resumed work after her annual vacation only to discover that she didn’t get the same salary that she had always received.

Similarly, another Zenith Bank employee, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told one of our correspondents that there was eight per cent cut in their salaries, beginning from August.

The source said the reason given by the bank was that the workers had not been paying the correct tax, hence, the bank had to start the deduction to regularise the tax payable.

On the fear that some workers could be sacked, the source said such fear had always been there, but the current one was beyond description.

He said, “The problem now is that there has not been any promotion since last year, which seems strange.”
An employee of First Bank, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said he had been sleeping and waking up in worry in the past two weeks due to fear of being sacked.

The banker, who just got married in Lagos, said workers had received an email from the bank’s Managing Director about a “new development soon.”

He said, “We have been receiving hints of more lay-offs due to the economic recession in the country, which has deeply affected the banking sector. Some employees lost their jobs two months ago. We also learned that another set of people will be laid off between September and October.”

Saturday PUNCH learnt that Ecobank has yet to slash its workers’ salaries, but there is apprehension among the bank’s employees that their pay might be slashed any moment from now.

One of the bank’s senior members of staff, who preferred to be addressed as Handsome Guy, said it had become a tradition among Nigeria’s banks to be imitating one another’s policies, especially those affecting workers’ welfare.
A worker with First Bank Plc, who simply identified himself as Jimson, confirmed to one of our correspondents on Thursday that most bank workers now go to work with the fear that they could be sacked anytime.

“There is perpetual fear in all banks. Every category of workers in the banks is affected by the economic crisis,” he said….  Read more

Culled from InspenOnline