Mr. Herbert Wigwe the Group Managing Director of Access Bank Plc has hinted that the financial institution would be engaging in mass retrenchment as seventy-five percent of the bank staff strength is no longer needed.
Wigwe said the planned mass retrenchment of its workforce is due to the outcome of the COVID-19 pandemic and the resultant lockdown.
Wigwe, who spoke via video conferencing in a town hall meeting with the bank’s staff, expressed his regret. He said those to be affected by the mass retrenchment are 75% of the bank’s staff, most of whom are outsourced and are offering “non-essential services”.
In an emotion-laden voice, Wigwe said: “We probably don’t need as many security men as required, even to the fact that we are not gonna have all our branches open between now and December. We don’t need all the tea girls. We don’t need all the cleaners. We don’t need all the tellers etcetera, etcetera.”
He added: “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 rationalize to the level that we think will be necessary to basically sustain a mean but actually a customer service-oriented institution.”
In the video that might have been recorded by a staffer of the bank or an interested party and posted on Twitter, Wigwe also talked about professional cost, which he described as being tricky.
He continued, “The second has to do with our professional cost. Now that is 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.”
In a move to show that all would be affected and that he also would not be spared, Wigwe made it clear that he would take the largest pay cut in the bank.
He said: “I will be the first to take the hit and I’m gonna take the largest pay cut, which would be as much as 40 percent. The rest we would have to cascade right through the institution. Everybody may have to make some adjustments of some sort.”
Mr. Herbert Wigwe said the proposed measures are aimed at keeping the bank afloat in the face of the economic realities of COVID-19.