Fisrt Bank Penssioners Union on Monday picketed the main branch of First Bank in Kaduna over alleged failure of the bank to improve the welfare of its pensioners.
The National Chairman of the union, Alhaji Mohammed Bungudu told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the picketing was going on in all the main branches of the bank nationwide.
Bungudu said the union was protesting the continuous payment of N15, 000 as monthly pension allowance to its retired workers and a N30,000 annually as medical allowance.
He said that the pension allowance was unrealistic and not in tune with current economic realities.
“We approached the bank in 2014 requesting improvement in welfare schemes and the bank asked us to wait and we waited until March 2015, again the bank said hold on.
“We went back in July and they asked us to itemise our demand, we did and nothing happened.
“We then waited up to October and when nothing happened we wrote to notify them that we will picket the bank if nothinig is done about our request.
“On recieving the letter, the bank rushed to Federal Minstry of Labour, and the ministry invited both of us to resolve the issue,” he said.
He said the ministry directed the union to suspend its planned action and gave the bank up to Jan. 31 to look into the pensioners grievances.
“On Feb. 2 the bank invited us only to tell us that they cannot do anything about our request becuase of economic down turn.
“But we read in the papers a day before the meeting that, First Bank is one of the best 500 banks in the world and number one in Nigeria.
“How can a number one bank in the country and one of the best 500 banks in the world complain about economy? N15,000 is too small to cater for our needs in a month.
“We still have dependants to maintain and we are being given N15,000 for 30 days. That is an average of N500 per day for me and my wife.
“This is bad, and we said First Bank please give us more and they said, economy.
“N30, 000 cannot take care of our medical needs in 12 months; we said please First Bank do more and they said economy, “the chairman said.
Bungudu recalled that the Federal Government had in 2000, increased civil servants pension by 342 per cent and three years later it was increased by another 33 per cent.
“We brought the two circulars to the bank and they are still maintaining N15,000 per month.”
When contacted on the pensioners protest, the Business Manager of the Kaduna main branch, Malam Ibrahim Mohammed said only the headquaters of the bank would respond, “as they have all the facts”. (NAN)