Nigerian Labor Groups Picket Union Bank's Offices, Allege Ban on Unionism
Nigerian labor unions picketed the offices of Union Bank of Nigeria Plc to protest an alleged ban on trade unionism by the Lagos-based lender, said Owei Lakemfa, a spokesman for the Nigerian Labor Congress.
“We have been at their head office for hours now and we have succeeded in stopping their operations here and other branches,” Lakemfa said by phone from the commercial capital, Lagos. “Across Nigeria, they have shut down their operations.”
At the bank’s head office on the Marina in Lagos, union members barricaded the entrance with buses, and were drumming and dancing on top of the vehicles. The picketing will last for one week and forms the first stage of the NLC’s planned protests against Union Bank, one of the lenders bailed out in 2009 by the Central Bank of Nigeria, Lakemfa said.
Union Bank has prevented workers from joining the Association of Senior Staff of Banks, Insurance and Financial Institutions, NLC’s President Abdulwaheed Omar said in a statement posted on the congress’s website on Feb. 10.
Francis Barde, the lender’s spokesman, declined to comment on today’s action, saying the bank had obtained a court injunction against the picketing and it was up to the court to enforce that ruling.
“It’s the court that will be battling with that, as we were given judgment and it was published in the papers.”
Lakemfa disputed the ruling, saying that “the case was at the Industrial Arbitration Court for two years and no judgment was given.”
Union Bank fell a second day, losing 7 kobo, or 1.6 percent, to 4.43 naira by the 2:30 p.m. close in Lagos, the lowest since Feb. 9. The stock has risen 5.5 percent this year, compared to a 7.4 percent increase in the Nigeria Stock Exchange All Share Index over the same period.
To contact the reporter on this story: Vincent Nwanma in Lagos at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Antony Sguazzin at asguazzin@bloomberg.