By Nelson Manneh
Customers of Guaranty Trust Bank have asked the Gambia Government to intervene and settle the problem that led to the ongoing sit-down strike that halted operations at the aforesaid bank last week.
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 staff of GTB Bank commenced their sit-down strike on Thursday 24th, September 2020, demanding for their benefits including restoration of appraisal bonuses, promotion for recommended staff for 2020 and 15 percent performance induced payment.
This industrial action started way back in July 2020 and it was terminated after the Central Bank Management intervened and asked the staff to continue with their work as they endeavored to solve the dispute cordially.
The aggrieved staff, since then, continued to execute their functions at the Bank hoping that their demands will be fulfilled by the management of Guaranty Trust Bank.
Central Bank Management intervened on Thursday, but their efforts to end the conflict failed to bear fruits. Foroyaa gathered that the Ministry of Finance intervened on Friday, but they were unable to register success prompting the aggrieved staff to continue with their industrial action.
This reporter met some civil servants at the GT bank branch at Latrikunda Sabiji on Friday. They said they went there to check whether their salaries have been deposited in their accounts.
Lamin Fatty, a teacher who spoke to Foroyaa, said he has been receiving his salary at GT Bank for the past ten years, but he has never experienced any problem.
“I am the breadwinner of my family and I come to check whether salaries are in (deposited) so that I can buy foodstuffs for my family,” he said.
The teacher said the management of GT Bank should listen to their staff and come to terms with them because the month is coming to an end and all those who receive their salaries at the said bank will come for their cash.
“If the bank continues with this strike, after every two months, I am going to transfer to another bank because it is very painful for one to work and at the end of the month you struggle to get your money from the bank,” he said.
Fatou Cham, a businesswoman, called on the Government to intervene and settle the matter as soon as possible. She said it is not fair for people to keep their money in a bank and when they need it, they cannot have access to it.
“People save their money in a bank for security purpose. If not, then there is no need for one to save his/her money in a bank. The Government should intervene and if the two parties cannot come to terms, let the Government close the bank and give each customer banking with GT Bank his or her money,” she said.
Some of the staff of GT Bank, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said they are not going back to their desks if the management fails to revisit their appraisal policy document.
“We are all demanding for the same thing and we are together on this issue. We want them to revisit the appraisal policy document and also give us our benefits and accord us our rights,” they said.
They alleged that the management of the bank has set up an appraisal committee to look at the performance of each staff working with the bank, but they realized that the appraisal committee is designed to favour only the management.
The staff said on July 9th, 2020, they mounted a sit-down strike and they were told to go back to work by the Central Bank, who said they will engage the management of the GT bank and their (aggrieved staff) representatives to solve the matter, but still, their demands are not fulfilled.
“This time around we are not going back to work until our demands are fulfilled,” they said.