Sunday, February 5

Access Bank customers threaten to close accounts as staffs strike

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The customers who were at the bank for financial transactions and were not pleased with the situation threatened to close their accounts with the bank if the staffs’ sit-down strike continues. Financial transactions at the various Access Banks branches in the country were halted due to the sit-down.

At the bank’s main office on the Kairaba Avenue where the staff gathered, some angry staffs were seen loitering within the premises of the bank, while others were seen sitting at a nearby tree brewing green tea (atayaa). Bank securities were ordered to close the gate and only staffs were allowed in.  

The staffs are demanding a pay rise with at least 50% of the bank staff to be promoted annually, increment of staff allowances and also for the management of the bank to stop threatening staff.

“I went to one of the branches of the bank at the Brusubi Roundabout in order to withdraw money. However, I was told by a lady to visit the main headquarters at Kairaba Avenue. As customers, we should have been informed about the staff planning to embark on a sit-down strike. This is not correct. I left Brufut in order to get my money but I couldn’t get it. This has really affected me because I am supposed to buy rice and oil for my family,” Ousman Jatta, a customer from Brufut said.

For her part, Mary Ceesay, also a customer expressed her frustration, adding that the bank’s management should have informed its customers about the planned sit-down strike either through televisions, radio or newspaper announcement.

“I have an emergency to go back to Europe. The normal procedures are to come to the bank and pay D2, 500 for the covid-19 test. Unfortunately, I came to the bank with the objectives of paying the money but only to be told that the staffs are on strike. I have to leave tomorrow because I have an emergency in Germany. My father is sick and I need to go and visit him. The question that we are asking the bank’s management is: why didn’t they inform us about the strike?

Ebou Tamba of New Jeshwang said: “I woke up yesterday with an empty pocket. I decided to go to the bank in order to withdraw a little cash for my upkeep. I went to the Access Bank in Serrekunda but only to be told that they are on strike. This has really affected me so much. In fact, I met one customer at the bank who didn’t even have fares to go back home. I have to give her my remaining 10 dalasis so that she can reach her destination.”

“I have been banking with the bank since 2012. However, with the way things are going, I am going to withdraw the little amount of money I have and close my account at the bank and go somewhere else where I will not have this nonsense.”

“I came to the bank to deposit money. The money that I am supposed to deposit at the bank belongs to someone. The guy doesn’t want the money to spend the night with me. I am really frustrated and this could make me close my account with the bank. In fact, now the question is; whether our monies are even safe at the bank,” Andrea Nicaise raised concern.

A staff who spoke to our reporter on the condition of anonymity, claimed that 90% of the Access Bank staffs are involved in the sit-down strike. “What’s more painful is the fact that staff working at the bank and got Bachelor’s degrees are not even promoted. The only people enjoying at the bank are managers. I can tell you that we are losing some of our most talented staffs to other banks who are our competitors.”

The management of the bank meanwhile has refused to speak to the media despite several attempts.