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Mass unemployment looms as Access Bank moves to sack 75% staff, cut salaries

Access Bank Plc has announced plans to lay-off some of its staff as well as cut salaries due to economic difficulties posed by the Coronavirus, COVID-19, pandemic.

In a video that has now gone viral on social media, Herbert Wigwe, the CEO of the bank empathised with staff, saying “everybody may have to make some adjustments of some sort”.

“We probably don’t need as many security men as required, even to the fact that we are not going to have all our branches open between now and December,” he said.

“We certainly don’t need all the security men. We don’t need all the tea girls. We don’t need all the cleaners. We don’t need all the tellers et cetera et cetera

“So that number of staff which represent 75% of our staff strength, I think, is the one we basically need to speak with their employers with a view to getting them to rationalise to the level that we think will be necessary to basically sustain a mean but actually a customer service-oriented institution.”

Wigwe also said discussions are already ongoing with recruiting agencies and contracting firms on how to cut back on the workforce.

“The second has to do with our professional cost. Now that one is very tricky and it is tricky because I do understand and appreciate that it is going to bring its own pain to staff. We basically have to make the adjustment the same way it sounded when we spoke ten days ago with respect to basically cutting down cost

“would be the first to take the hit and I’m going to take the largest pay cut, which would be as much as forty per cent (40%).

“The rest, we shall have to cascade right through the institution.”

Assuring that the bank will revert to what is normal when things improve, Wigwe said the adjustments are necessary to survive the difficult times.

“What is important is that these adjustments are what is required at a time when we see Armageddon when we see great difficulty coming in, to make sure that if there is one institution left standing in this country as a bank, it must be Access Bank,” he said.

“We appreciate the fact that it is going to hurt people but we necessarily have to take that adjustment to ensure that we protect our franchise and make us stronger as we move into the future.”

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Written by Vivian Ifezue

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