Tuesday , December 7 2021

116 Ex Staff Initiate N2bn Suit Against UBA, Alleged Wrongful Appointment Termination

No fewer than 116 former bank’s staff has filed a N2 billion lawsuits against UBA Bank as they alleged wrongful termination of appointments.

The legal war has been filed before the Lagos division of the National Industrial Court sitting in Ikoyi.

According to them, UBA Bank has been accused of breach of contract and wrongful termination of employment.

The claimants in their statement of material facts filed before the court through their lawyer, Mr. Elvis E. Asia, claimed that they were staffs of UBA Plc until they were constructively dismissed on January 3, 2020 along with many others.

They also claimed that between January 3 and 6 2020, UBA invited them to meetings at their various branches and asked them to resign immediately.

The claimants revealed that they were told that resignation was a condition precedent to being paid terminal benefits.

Furthermore, they averred that after writing the resignation letters that they discovered that they were already exited from the bank before they were asked to resign, as they were denied access to the bank’s portal from the end of January 3, 2020 and the exit letters from the bank was received from January 14, 2020 but backdated to January 3, 2020.

The aggrieved ex staffs stressed that the bank perfected the mass sack before surreptitiously compelling them to resign in order to deny many of them their terminal benefits through loans availed them few weeks before the sack.

While adding that by the terms of the loan, repayment was insured in the event of involuntary loss of job, the claimants noted that the desperation to get them to resign was deliberately to deny them of the benefit of the insurance and their benefits.

In addition, the claimants averred that they were paid meagre benefits and were debited with the outstanding loans which ought to have been taken care of by insurance being that their employment was not brought to an end voluntarily.

According to the claimants, it was argued that during the course of employment, they were subjected to discriminatory and unfair labour practices by the defendant.

They posited further that after they were constructively dismissed, UBA admitted that they and the other staff that were sacked were retrenched but claimed that they were ‘toxic imputers’ and ‘disconnected individuals’.

Insisting that they were never issued any query for non-performance or for being toxic imputers or disconnected individuals, the claimants argued that UBA made the claim to lower their estimation in the eyes of right thinking members of the society.

On constructive dismissal, the claimants averred that between January 3 and 6, 2020, they were locked in meeting rooms at their various branches and told that the management that the management of the bank had decided that they should resign immediately.

The claimants stated that they were further informed that payment of terminal benefits was conditional on the resignation, adding that they were placed in confinement till about 10:30-11pm on January 3, 2020 and were only allowed to leave after being compelled to resign against their will.

They stated that after the meeting, resignation letters were forwarded to them and they received exit letters from UBA between January 14 and March 2, 2020, and the exit letters erroneously implied that they voluntarily left the services of the Bank and were backdated to January 3, 2020 before the resignation letters.

They averred that due to the shock and pressure to resign, many of them them wrote the resignation letters by hand and did not have copies after giving it to the bank as directed.

On alleged defamation of character, the claimants averred that on January 6, 2020 at the Amphitheatre, UBA House Lagos, the Chairman of UBA, Mr. Tony Elumelu announced to all staff and the whole world that they are ‘Toxic Inputters and Disconnected Individuals.

The aggrieved ex UBA Staffs are also praying the court to issue a declaration that the personal loans given to them by UBA between August and December, 2019 was unconscionable, oppressive and against all known tenets of Corporate decency.

Furthermore, they urged the court to compel the bank to pay their salaries from the date of ‘constructive’ dismissal to the date of judgment.

They also want an order mandating the UBA to remit the 2.5% NHF deductions from their salaries to the fund.

Alternatively, the workers are demanding for an order mandating UBA to credit their accounts with the deductions made from their salaries as NHF contribution with interest at the rate of 25%.

Furthermore, they want the court to make an order mandating UBA to provide satisfactory references when requested without reference alleged non- performance and outstanding loans.

The former workers are also praying the National Industrial Court to award N10 million damages each against UBA for alleged defamation of character and N50 million being cost of action.

Insisting that the bank’s statement cannot be true in view of the fact that the nature of loans granted some of them are reserved for performing staff, they added that in the absence of any query/caution for non-performance or for being toxic and disconnected, the above statement must have been intended only to defame the Claimants and reduce their estimation in the eyes of reasonable members of the society.

The Claimants plead and shall at trial rely on a flash drive containing the video recording of the Defendant’s statement.

In the action designated NICN/La/112/2020 against UBA, plaintiffs  include: Adams Halimat Atta; Adedamola Olayemi Daramola; Adedeji Olubukola Adesola; Adedeji Oladipupo Soliu; Adeleke Anota Adeola; Adenike Bankole; Adenola Sunday Dare; Adeoti Adewale Wasiu; Adewole Kehinde Oluwadere; Adewale Opeyemi; Adiabokpa Godfrey and Adisa Ademola Khabir.

Others include; Ajayi Samuel Jaiyeola; AfolayanOluwakemi M; Agbana Oluwakemi Deborah; Agbo Chinyere Maureen; Agbede Oluwakemi Toyin Fawehinmi; Adewole Ajibike Olusola; Adeniran Adeyinka Ajoke Nee Daniel; Akingbade Olufemi John; Akinyemi Lawal; Alabi Olajide Abiodun; Alake Dorcas Jumoke; Alice bako; Anieze Ifeoma Pauline; Anyaogu Patience Akunna; Arundu Hope; Atafo Oziegbe Godwin; Azeez Ayokunle Temitayo and Azubuike Opone Ufuoma.

The claimants also include; Azuh Ngozi Jovita; Badmus Idris Bambo; Balogun Sunday Emmanuel; Bamgbose Sumbo; Bayode Ajayi Austine; Bose Imarughe; Bosunde Olufemi Olusegun; Cecilia Wilson Ochenje; Charity Ijeoma Onyekwere, Chinyere Ezekwu and 76 others.

Earlier this year, Mr Ramon, in an interview with Premium Times, said there was no lay-off in the bank.

He added that the information being pushed out by some of the affected staff is largely “untrue”.

According to him, “There was no lay-off in the bank but people were advised to resign based on our right-sizing policy. The bank concluded its appraisals in December. Every year, we do two appraisals in UBA; one in June and one in December. After the second appraisal, the management of the bank takes the decision. In this year, decisions that were taken include that 5,000 staff will be promoted and 5,000 staff was promoted on Friday,” he said.

About Bukola Olanrewaju

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