Public sector workers picket GTBank in Ondo

By The Rainbow

Guaranty Trust Bank on Tuesday saw the wrath of Public sector employers in Ondo state, who claimed the  bank  was withholding N706 million that was deposited by the state government in the 'Staff Matters Account.'

The workers under the auspices of the Joint Negotiating Council (JNC), blocked the entire premises of the the Alagbaka, Akure branch bank with three waste disposal vehicles loaded with waste.

Following the action of the workers, the branch could not attend to anxious customers that had come to discharge various transactions.

The bank later acknowledged that it was only acting to recover a loan to a related party which was guaranteed by the state government.

A GTB statement however put the matter in perspective.

According to the bank, the Ondo State government had guaranteed 'a facility to a related party in April 2008 and the bank only exercised its rights under the terms of the agreement by setting off outstanding sums against the state government funds with the bank.'

The bank also denied holding on to any civil servants remunerations, saying that it acted in conformity with the highest corporate governance standards in a professional and transparent manner.

Chairman of the Ondo State Chapter of the JNC, Mr. Oluwole Adeleye,  confirmed  that some workers in the state took the loan from the bank in 2008.

According to him,  trouble started in December 2012, when the government sent vouchers for payment of workers’ leave bonus to the bank but the bank refused to pay because some workers were indebted to the financial institution.

He however added that the bank rebuffed the plan put forward by JNC that would have resolved the issue without vicarious impact on persons that did not take any loans.

Adeleye said the JNC had requested that the bank should compile the list of all workers that were yet to pay back the loan so that their names would be sent to the Accountant General office.

This, he said,  would have led to direct deduction and remittance to the bank instead of holding all the workers to ransom.

The chairman said all the pleadings of the JNC to the management of the bank were not accepted, insisting that the bank refused to release the money.

He stated further  that the bank would not release  the money for the payment of the workers' January salary when the State Accountant General wrote it to release the money.