The Brother Sound Pained Hear his Story
From: Peter I Acha
Sent: Monday, September 23, 2013 10:02 AM
To: Executive Management
Cc: Transactions Officers
Subject: TELLERS WELFARE - THE TALES AND WOES OF A TYPICAL ACCESS BANK TELLER
Good day Management, Good day my fellow TellersFinally, the process of integration was concluded and then…….. Things began to happen,
Having sat down and pondered for a while about some trivial issues concerning tellers in this bank, I decide to break the silence, damn the consequence and speak out to save other people that are suffering and smiling. Away from the stories and now to the crux of the matter.
On the 14 April 2008, I got an employment as A TRANSACTION OFFICER with a Bank called INTERCONTINENTAL BANK PLC (IBplc). I was happy just like every other person because I saw a promising future. Time went on, policies and programmes of government and monetary agencies unfolded, the bank was later taken over by another bank called ACCESS BANK. This process brought a lot of tension among staff of IBPLC that led to more than half of the total staff of IBplc resigning their appointment as a result of the threats posed by Access Bank management.
First, I discovered that as a support staff in Access bank, there won’t be any form of growth either in salary or promotion to become a core staff as it were in IBPLC.
Secondly, that you could be ask to leave the Job at any slightest provocation or human error without considering your previous efforts or your outstanding performance or even the numbers of years you have put into the Job.
Thirdly, the bank do not take responsibilities in terms of fatal injury or death as you will be refer to your employer in the case of any negative eventuality. This is unacceptable and negates world’s best practice.
As a human being, I take comments to be mere rumors till I have verified them, because during upbringing, my lovely parent taught me this philosophy to apply in every circumstances, the philosophy is simple, they are: (1) SEE (2) JUDGE (3) AND ACT. This philosophy is the motto of the Young Catholic Student (YCS) back then in my early schools days.
Finally, I began to see things for myself in this working arena called ACCESS BANK. My first ugly encounter was during the cut over periods. I saw what I never bargained for. I don’t know of branches in other regions, but here in Abuja, it wasn’t funny, we resumed work by 7.AM and do not leave until 2.00am (midnight) this continued for weeks all in the bid to avert all the lapses caused by the process of integration.
In the normal IBPLC, compensation would have come in at least for taking risk to work till that horrible hour of the day. But to my surprise, there was no comment from any quarters, not even to show appreciation. Yes! You heard me right, there was no appreciation because going by the terms of my employment, I was to leave the office not later than the stipulated time of 6pm. We even had to come on Saturdays and Sundays to work, yet, no lunch, no allowance, no appreciation nothing.
In the course of this suffering, a meeting was schedule for all IBPLC tellers here in Abuja, the aim of the meeting was to intimate us how we will be used In all the units of the bank e.g Funds transfer Desk, customer service, etc as against our sole responsibility which was cash management. We all thought our token salary will be increase along side, instead it was reduce as the cash hazard allowance and monthly feeding allow was stopped. This meeting brought sadness to the entire IBPLC tellers because tragedy strucked. Four of our colleagues were coming from Gwagwalada branch ,all of them in the same vehicle had a fatal accident. We lost two and two others survived with various degree of injuries and were unconscious for days.
I was the first person the hospital called to inform of the accident, I quickly informed the ‘’REGIONAL OGAS’’ who were anchoring the meeting that made these fellows leave their homes to their untimely death, finally we all got to the hospital premises, in fact the mortuary to be precise, we confirmed the death of BUKOLA AREMU AND KINGSLEY EMEZIE, while the two others Ozeigbe and Ayo were still alive. To confirm the earlier rumor I heard, the ‘ogas’ started making calls, it was later I realized that call was for immediate replacement as all the four branch tellers were all involved in the accident. As a student of Public Admin, I know it was right to quickly look for replacement. The big question is, what about the souls (dead and alive)? All that was done was to contact the company that outsourced the staff, there was no follow up whatsoever on the side of the bank who these people labored for, the matter died down, Bukky was buried on the fourth day while Kingsley was buried two weeks later. None, I mean none of Access bank staff was there to witness this. Of course some of the branch staff were there because of the close relationship they had with their late colleagues.
Bukky and Kingsley, you both died a Hero and a Heroine, even if you were not recognized, you live on in our hearts. I say may your souls rest in peace. (Amen)
Coming back to other issues, I will be summarizing them for easy and better understanding.
Access bank is known to have a general belief of ‘empowering employees’. Now I ask, how have the tellers been empowered?
-. Is it by paying the ‘’professional staff’’ benefits and a penny is not accrued to tellers?
-. Is it by paying professional staff medical allowance while the tellers who suffer the same risk or even more with them are left at the mercy of their so called employers?
-. Is it by promoting professional staff and leaving a teller to be stagnant? In management science, stagnation is the worst form of demoralization.
-. Our female tellers are not allowed the full benefits of a nursing mother, they get half pay during their period of maternity, and are not entitled to nursing mother’s right after the completion of the three month half paid period. If I may ask, is there any difference between a female professional staff and a female support staff? Why should a fellow human be wicked to his brother and sister? Too many questions begging for answers.
If Access Bank wants me to believe they empower their employee’s then they should revisit some of the aforementioned cases.
Despite all these maltreatment, do you still expect the tellers to put in their best? Against all odds, even after putting your best into the job, the almighty ‘’professional staff’’ takes the glory. (e.g) a branch that had 5 stars in Abuja, the core staff in the branch were paid huge sums while the ‘’robot ‘’security men and tellers who were outstanding in attending to the MS were left with nothing.
Access Bank wants to be the world most respected African Bank, how will this be achieved if there is unethical discrimination among the people working in the same organization?
Now funds are being lavished on rebranding, I ask this question what is the essence of rebranding if the staff welfare is not a priority to the Bank? I was able to speak to a teller who have spend six year with Access Bank, and I could feel the pains right from his heart, he made me understand that the case was worse even before Access acquired Intercontinental Bank .What is the importance of flashy ambience if the core element (frontline staff) of the bank is unspeakable. My Grandfather had this proverb “You will be wasting your time if you are looking for clean teeth in a rotten mouth”. You can’t give what you don’t have, why should a teller be happy in his work environment when he is not happy with the job. One may see them laughing but is never from their mind – plastic smile. We try to express all this maltreatment, however, when we mention it, the next thing they say is ‘resign if you are tired of the Job’’ the fact that there are no jobs in Nigeria does not mean those who get a partial employment should be retrogressing instead of improvement in their well being. (this is a typical experience of an Access Bank Teller.) especially those who resides where cost of leaving is alarming. E.G Abuja P/H and other cities.
FACT YOU SHOULD RATHER CONSIDER:
1. HND is never a disease and will not make someone like me feel like a second class citizen. So whatever a Bsc holder can do in Access Bank, an HND holder will also do and even do it better, is the brain and ability that matters and not the empty certificate.
2. When there is no motivation at work place, it demoralizes the people especially at the grass root level.
3. There should be upward and downward flow of communication to know the feelings of your staff who interface the customers.
4. Adequate and enough leave days be granted to staff so they can rest. In the days of IBPLC, it was difficult to differentiate between core staff and a support staff, leave days was 20 days for all. Please note, then, professional and non professional does not come to play. Is either a You’re a core staff or a support staff and is not obvious for the world to know who is who. Customers sees us all as IBPLC employees. So let’s correct this notion of professional or non professional thing. An illiterate can be a professional while an educated illiterate a non professional, go to a country like China, you will understand.
5. There should be an avenue where you serve as a support for years and you are elevated to become a core staff too, whoever you employ no matter the pay, will know that he or she is working for something and will put in his or her best to merit that position. But If there is nothing to lose, what do you expect?
6. Even tellers employed with National Diploma should be encouraged in terms of payment review even if there won’t be promotion ,for example in GTB a teller’s salary is increased with N10,000 yearly until the 3rd or 4th year, but reverse is the case in Access bank.
7. Appreciate your employees. Whether a core staff or a support staff. It gives people that sense of belonging.
8. If you must celebrate any employee, then it is better to celebrate who ever deserves to be celebrated, I watch carefully when cakes are being baked for core staff on their birthdays, I laugh over it because it seems support staff don’t celebrate birthdays. Or perhaps they were all given birth to on a day that never exist.maybe on the 32nd of December 19xxxxxx, this is the worst form of discrimination. Is better not to do it at all than to do for some and make them feel too important.
9. Pay allowances to all employees that are exposed to the same hazard and risk irrespective of their mode of employment. Why paying medical allowance to core staff and neglecting support staff, or are tellers robot made by scientist that they don’t need to take care of themselves? The only thing being shared equally at the branch level in Access Bank is the yearly December Rice, please it should not just be only rice that you share using that kind of formula extend it to other aspect. (How am I sure it will even continue this year?)
10. If you don’t show empathy to the people that are working for you, how will they show sincere empathy to customers? In Abuja, house rent is very expensive, you earn N50,000 per month and pay rent of not less than 20,000 per month. Pay monthly Transport of not less than N15,000, and feed with not less than N10,000. How will the tellers and other support staff grow with this token? Where is the empathy on the part of our management? All these little things make support staff to always maintain CV and they leave at any time after they feel the embarrassment and harassment is too much for them to bear.
11. Today, the bank is aiming and preaching customer retention, but have the management bother to retain any of this tellers who put in their best? Any result driven organization is suppose to develop her employees and retain them. This can simply be refer to as moral obligation.
12. Management is made up of people with heart, In other words, empathy can be shown. The management can also decide not to take this issues serious, one thing we must know as religious people, when God gives you wealth, money authority and power to lead and you use it to punish or maltreat people under you, that same God knows how to take it away from you and judge you after your earthly deeds. Like the bible will have it, it is easier for a camels head to pass through a niddle than for a reach man to enter into the kingdom of GOD. This does not mean rich men cant enter heaven, it all depend on how you use your wealth on people who do not have what you have got.
13. Finally, to my dear fellow tellers, the difference between where we are now and where we all want to be is ‘’TIME AND OPPORTUNITY’’ do not hesitate to act fast when the time comes. In other words, stay if you want to stay, walk if you need to walk and run if it become necessary for you to do so. GOD BLESS US ALL. And for the bank, if you must be the best as you desire, start with the staff (tellers and support staff) who are victims of this inequality.
Just to mention a few, there are so many injustice we see on a daily basis, but I cannot put everything down in writing to express my displeasure and say all I intend to say. If Mandela never summoned courage, South Africa would not have been what it is today particularly to the black citizens.
I must also add that nobody should be held liable for this act of mine if its view to be negative, I should be held liable as it’s a plan I conceived and decided to send to top management to know if they are aware of all these challenges.
WARNING: No teller is expected to reply in any negative way, if you must comment, let it be genuine and no insult. But I will rather advice you do not reply so I don’t rub you into any issues. I have consider the good, the bad and the ugly expectation that may arise from this write up, do not join me if you don’t have the mind and the will to do so. “He that is down fears no fall at all”.
LONG LIVE ACCESS BANK PLC.
LONG LIVE THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA…