Coronavirus: Access Bank plans to cut staff salaries to avoid job losses

Against the backdrop of the coronavirus pandemic, Access Bank Plc will cut salaries to avoid job losses, PREMIUM TIMES has learnt.

Officials informed about the decision confirmed this to PREMIUM TIMES.

One official, who pleaded not to be named because he had not been authorised to speak on the matter, said: “The bank decided not to downsize but reduce the salaries to still sustain their workers.”

“By next week, people are going to be laid off, and if you as an access bank employee, would you rather be laid off or have a salary cut?” he said.

Bloomberg had earlier reported the development, relying on the information from the people who were briefed on the matter during the conference call.

Unless business conditions improve, the reductions are expected to start in May.

A video seen by PREMIUM TIMES also shows the group managing director of the bank, Herbert Wigwe, in a town hall meeting with the bank’s staff through video conferencing, saying that 75 per cent of the bank’s staff may be affected.

“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,” Mr. Wigwe said in the video.

“The second has to do with our professional cost. Now that is one that is very tricky and it is tricky because I do understand and appreciate that its gonna, you know, bring its own pain to staff. We basically have to make the adjustments the same way you sounded when we spoke 10 days ago with respect to basically cutting down the cost.

“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 per cent. The rest we would have to cascade right through the institution. Everybody may have to make some adjustments of some sort,” he said.

Earlier this year, the bank posted gross earnings of N666.75 billion for the financial year ended December 31, 2019.

Its profit before tax stood at N115.38 billion while profit after tax rose to N97.51 billion in 2019.

Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, many countries have been forced to lock down with businesses affected.

This has also affected the global oil market with oil price seeing a downward trend, which also affected the Nigerian economy.

Speaking on the reported N1 billion donation by the bank to help Nigeria in the fight against coronavirus, one bank official said: “The bank had to save the country from being decimated by COVID-19. N1 billion is nothing compared to our salary structure. We pay close to N8 billion as salaries every month,” he said.

(PREMIUM TIMES)

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