2,000 Workers Besiege Nigerian Bank

LAGOS – Nigeria’s umbrella union, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), barricaded the headquarters of the country’s largest bank
yesterday[05.21.01] after the bank told its staff to either quit the union or lose their jobs.

LAGOS – Nigeria’s umbrella union, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), barricaded the headquarters of the country’s largest bank
yesterday[05.21.01] after the bank told its staff to either quit the union or lose their jobs.

Business was brought to a standstill at First Bank of Nigeria’s headquarters in Lagos as 2,000 protesters sealed off entrances, trapping workers inside.

The bank was awarded an injunction against the protest but the union ignored the court order. The demonstration blocked traffic in the major streets of
the city’s financial district.

"We are here to send a signal to First Bank management of our intention to close the bank down unless they are willing to allow the workers’ right to trade unionism," Adams Oshiomhole, the leader of the NLC, told the
crowd.

Last month the bank offered to raise workers’ wages to improve service levels and stop competitors from poaching staff, bank sources said. But the pay increases came on the condition workers opted out of the union.

Oshiomhole said the NLC would stop the bank from doing business until the bank’s management agreed to negotiate. The union threatened to expand the protests to the largest of the bank’s 150 branches nationwide.

Author: Business Report 22/5/01

News Service: Reuters

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