Saturday, October 31, 2020

Central Bank Fails to End Industrial Action at GT Bank as Aggrieved Staffs Vow to Continue with Sit Down Strike

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The Central Bank of The Gambia’s move to end a sit down strike by aggrieved staffs of GT Bank, failed to yield dividend on Thursday as the protesters said they will not resume work if their demands are not met by their management.

GT Bank, which is one of the leading Banks in the country with 6.6 billion dalasi of depositors’ funds and over three hundred employees, is racked by strike which stemmed from staff grievances over their management’s failure to address their concerns.

The aggrieved staff embarked on a sit down strike on 9th July 2020 in demand for benefits and what they called their rights. However, the industrial action was aborted after the Central Bank Management intervened and asked the staff to resume work as they would work to solving the dispute amicably. In its effort to resolve the matter, the Central Bank asked the staff to select individuals who would represent them at a meeting with the aforesaid Bank’s Governor and his management.

Foroyaa learnt that the said meeting was held on 10th July 2020 and assurance was given that the dispute was going to be resolved immediately to avoid another sit down strike as decided by the staff.

The staffs, who have since been performing their functions at the GT Bank, said their demands were yet to be met by their management (GT Bank management), and as a result they recommenced their sit down strike on Thursday.

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Foroyaa gathered that personnel of the Central Bank of The Gambia visited GT Bank on Thursday and met with representatives of the aggrieved staff. This medium gathered that during their meeting with the staff, the Central Bank suggested for three months to be given to solve the problem, but the Bank’s staff said they will continue with their sit down strike until their demands are met by the Bank’s management.

A source told this medium: “CBR option of putting the bank under prescription for three months is not good enough given that they had all the time from July to date to resolve the impasse, but failed. The Bank does not have capital issues so there is no point of putting it under prescription. The issues at hand are purely corporate governance issues which were identified by CBG in their investigations.”

Staffs told this medium: “The Bank has what we called an appraisal committee; this committee looks at the performance of each staff working in this Bank, but we have realized that the management of the Bank has recently tampered with this appraisal committee in their favour.”

This strike has affected several customers and clients of GT Bank as they were not able to carry out transactions in the bank’s outlets across the country.

Hendry Williams, one of the Bank’s customers, said he was at the bank as early as 8 pm, but there was no one to attend to him.

“GTB is bothering their customers; if they continue like this, I will close my account and transfer all my money to another bank because this is not what is expected from them. I have no more trust in the bank,” he said.

Mr. Williams said the management of the bank should have notified all their customers that there was going to be a strike and no customer will be attended, but instead they wasted the time, resources and energy of their clients.

“The government should intervene on this matter. A bank cannot be embarking on a strike after every two months, who knows the next step the staffs are going to take if the management fail to fulfill their demands?” he said.

Abie Badjie another customer told this reporter that she has an urgent transaction and she has no cash at home.

“The reason why I keep my money in a bank is to get it any day I need it. But if this is what GTB decides to do, I will transfer the little cash I have with them to another bank,” she said.

Madam Badjie said she does not have fish money with her and she wants to make some withdrawals and go straight to the market

Dodou Bojang the communication officer at the Guranty Trust Bank said there was no notice from the staff prior to the strike, adding that if they were aware of it, they would have informed their customers.

Mr. Bojang said the way it works around Guaranty Trust Bank is that when there is any change concerning staff issues, it is always communicated to all staff and that was not done.

He said the staffs are yet to be formally informed about any change in the bank.

“GTB Bank is what it is today because every year appraisals are done to measure the performance of every staff working in the bank and GTB Bank appraisal is always taken seriously,” he said.

GTB Bank communication officer said he heard that the staffs of GTB said they are not happy with the way the appraisal committee was constituted, but he said this information was not formally communicated to him.

He said the Management is working hard to solve the matter as soon as possible for their staff to go back to work.

This medium also made effort to seek the opinion of the administration of GTB so that they can narrate their side of the story, but the management said they will not talk to any press regarding the issue.

Board Chairperson of GT Bank was contacted by Foroyaa in July 2020 to get his side of the story, but he said his Bank believes in solving their disputes internally and not sharing them with the public.

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