IGI workers protest mass retrenchment

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Chuks Udo Okonta

Aggrieved employees of Industrial and General Insurance (IGI) company limited in Lagos on Wednesday, warned the management to rescind its decision to retrench majority of them or face industrial action.

The protesters urged the management under the leadership of the managing director, Mrs.Rachel Voke Emenike, to “withdraw all such sack letters immediately through the same medium they were disseminated to avoid any chaos in the company.”

The workers who pleaded for anonymity, accused the company’s managing director, Mrs. Emenike of being biased, pointing out that those affected by the retrenchment exercise were mainly members of the ASSBIFI AND NUBIFIE under the umbrella of the Coalition of IGI Staff.

“The exercise which was largely executed on the social media of WhatsApp on 15th October, 2019 is hereby rejected in its entirety as it has been done in very bad faith, being the fall out of our letter to the Board of Directors on your anti-staff management style since you assumed the position of Managing Director in the company coupled with the quiet but formal inauguration of our membership of the NUBIFIE and ASSBIFI.

“Also as pointed out in our letter to the Board under reference, of a vital note is the fact that since you assumed your position in the company as the supposed Chief Marketing Officer, you have not used your position to add any financial value (not even N5,000 MotorThird Party premium) to assist the staff struggle toward easing the liquidity stress of the company.

“Rather you have depended largely on the fund generated by the same staff you met in the company, to satisfy your personal financial needs through frivolous allowances and estacodes, whilst depriving the staff who made the money, of their salaries, which has accumulated to about 20 months as at date.”

Responding to the development, the company said it is true some staff were disengaged in continuation of the ongoing turnaround programme aimed at reviving the company.

It noted that “those affected came to our office in the morning to protest the decision.

“For the Management, it was a hard decision to make. But the measure was long overdue and it had to be taken in order to save the company from sudden death.

“The past years have been very challenging for IGI as a business, a situation which called for a strategic review of our costs across board to ensure efficiency and eliminate obvious redundancies. This was what triggered a couple of tough decisions, including the inevitable downsizing.

“The Management has made provision for immediate palliatives to help cushion the adverse effects of the layoff on the staff concerned. In accordance with the company’s staff handbook, their monies in lieu of notice as well as their ex-gratias are ready for collection.

“This is pending the final payment of their severance benefits, which are being worked on.”

The company said it is working assiduously to meet the recapitalisation deadline. “We are very optimistic and encouraged by the level if our progress so far,” it added.

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