The number of full-time workers in the banking industry has been on the decline as contract employees have doubled in the past two years, rising from 20,237 to 46,235, investigation has revealed.
Figures obtained by our correspondent on Wednesday showed that the number of contract workers in the industry rose from 20,237 in the first quarter of 2017 to 32,013 at the end of Q1 2018.
The figure, which hit 43,955 at the end of the second quarter of 2018, further rose to 46,235 at the end of the first quarter of 2019, according to a report by the National Bureau of Statistics.
Despite the increase in the banks’ operations, the number of junior workers fell from 40,549 in the second quarter of 2018 to 39,980 in the second quarter of 2019, the report added.
As banks embrace cheap labour as a way to cut costs, experts are worried that not many of the lenders are providing additional benefits for such contract employees such as pension savings, healthcare or insurance covers in case of death.
The President, United Labour Congress, Joseph Ajaero, described contract/casual employment and outsourcing as precarious jobs that should not be encouraged under normal employment schedule.
In most cases, he said, such jobs did not have any form of protection, adding that they were more prevalent in sectors without strong unions that could challenge the system.
He said, “Although it is creeping into almost every sector, it is more prevalent in the banking sector. And from all indications, that does not give people living wages.”
Ajaero noted that if the casual workers belonged to a union, they would have the boldness to negotiate their monthly salary and other allowances, which would ameliorate the sufferings of the workers.
“They could insist that instead of paying them N20,000 a month, you must pay N50,000. They could insist on health facility and key into the new Contributory Pension Scheme.”
A former President, Trade Union Congress, Peter Esele, said, “I don’t think it is appropriate but you have to look at it from two sides. If the contract employees are being properly remunerated, it is a different ball game. But they are not well remunerated and the reason why they are going in that direction is that it is cheaper for the banks. In business, what majority of people seek is profit.”
He said the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment should be interested in the welfare of all workers including contract employees in the banking sector.
Esele said the pressure groups within that sector or the union within the banking industry needed to take it up to ensure they were well remunerated.