By Victory Oduneye
He used to be one of the over 40,000 contract staff in the banking industry. After working in two banks, one insurance firm, and an investment subsidiary of a bank, Adedotun Bamigboye is today the Chief Executive Officer of Dot and Dashed Energy.
In this interview with TheNewsBeam, he reveals what it means to be a contract staff in a bank. His story also reveals why Nigerian banks are increasingly relying on contract staff, employing 40,382 as at September 2020, up by 73% from 23,221 in September 2016.
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From School to GTB
“I studied Banking and Finance in a notable polytechnic in Ogun State. I had always wanted to be a banker, and so I went for it. I finished my Ordinary National Diploma (OND) in 2009 and went for my Industrial Attachment (IT). Fortunately for me, I was able to get a placement at Guarantee Trust Bank (GTB) where I was placed on a N40,000 salary as an IT student.
“I felt like a big boy, you know, a student being paid that amount monthly at that time is huge. Asides from the salary, I loved working at GTB because as at that time they were the best Customer Service Bank of the year. So it was exciting working in a conducive environment.
“However, as a cashier/bulk teller guy, I encountered a lot of challenges even just as an IT student.
“One of the challenges, was the fear of receiving fake money. Because every fake money I received will be deducted from my salary.
“Actually, we were trained to identify fake currencies and even had a light you pass currencies through to enable you identify if a note is fake or real, despite all these we have fraudulent people who hide fake currencies in between money, especially money in bulk and this can be difficult to spot, because you have a lot of money to sort.
“After sorting, you rap the money with a strap, and stamp the strap with your name written on it and also sign on the stamped strap, so that whenever there is an issue, they can trace the money back to the person who sorted the money and deduct it immediately from his or her salary”.
Shortages, overages and militated currency.
“A banker is faced with the challenge of ensuring he or she doesn’t have shortages, that is strapping an amount less than the actual amount. For example, if you signed that you counted N50,000 and when it got to where the money would be dispensed, they could only find N49,500 or less, then you will pay for it immediately. So you must be very careful”.
“For overages, that is you signed an amount more than the actual amount, the money would be removed and kept till they know where the excess came from. But you could be sanctioned for that.
“Same also with multilated currency (a note that has been damaged to the extent that one-half or less of the note remains questionable). In all of this you have to be careful because of fraudulent people”. He said.
TheNewsBeam analysis of National Bureau of Statistics, NBS, report showed that banks are increasingly relying on contract staff for their operations.
As a result, the ratio of contract staff to total banks’ staff jumped by 50% percent in four years, from 28 percent as at September 2016 to 42 percent as at September 2020.
Ordeal in Union Bank
This trend according to Bamigboye is because contract staff are paid less hence they represent cheap labour for the banks.
A contract employee is an individual employed for a predetermined time, at a predetermined wage. Following this approach, a company is not responsible for providing a variety of traditional employee benefits.
Using his experience in Union Bank to illustrate this fact, he said
“After my IT, I continued with my education to get a Higher National Diploma (HND) certificate, I finished my studies in 2011 and didn’t get a job until 2014 at Union Bank, where I worked for two years as a marketer.
“The major problem I faced as a contract staff is discrimination from full staff as an HND graduate.
“Although, we teach these full time staff graduates when they newly resumed work, after working for few months they begin to feel better than us and even sometimes oppress us because they are in a better and Higher position.
“Another problem is the pay. The pay or salary isn’t commensurate to the work contract staff do. Thank God for the commission that helped boost the salary at a time.
“However, when the bank realized we were making more money from our commission, which was paying us more than some full staff salary at a point, especially if you are meeting or surpassing your targets, they began to cut our money unnecessarily.
Speaking about the disadvantages of being a contract staff, he said,
“As a contract staff, you are stagnant as you cannot be promoted, except you go back to get a BSc certificate and struggle to get an entry-level position in the organization as a full time staff. If not, no promotion for contract staff, no matter how hard you work.
“One thing that also discouraged me, is the fact that after working hard for a while, no bonus was given. Contract staff are not entitled to any incentives and yearly profits from the bank like the full time staff.
“Contract staff work more and are paid less, and they are more exposed to risk than other staff of the bank”.
Experience with an Insurance Company
After working with two banks, Mr. Bamigboye got an appointment with an insurance company, he accepted the job with the assumption that he would get a better treatment in an insurance company.
“After Working with Union Bank for two years, I got a job with Wapic Insurance, but I didn’t work there for a long time, I only spent 6 months thereabout, because when I got the appointment, I was to be paid N72,000 as salary, but later on it was slashed to N42,000, then to N20,000, and then to nothing.
“They said we were going to be paid on the number of customers we bring, i.e on commission, I wasn’t happy with the new development so I left”.
Experience with the subsidiary of a bank
He described working with the subsidiary of a bank as a wonderful experience, as he enjoyed working with them.
“After working with Wapic Insurance for 6 months, I got a job with a gas company, where I worked for a while, before I got the job offer to Work in UBA Capital.
“United Bank for Africa (UBA) Capital is a subsidiary of United Bank for Africa (UBA), it deals with investment banking, securities, access management, shares and bonds. I was also a marketer there, but I enjoyed it because it wasn’t as difficult and stressful as a banking job.
“There was no discrimination, the bank already had prospects, we went for the big boys of the society, so they could invest with us. It was a great time working there”.
“However, the challenge I faced was convincing customers to invest with the bank, because the customers majorly are elites, they have investments already in other places, so it was a struggle convincing them.
“But it was a good experience as it helps you sometimes gain access or establish a relationship with the elites”.
Advice to The Government on Ways to Help Contract Workers
“Contract staff should be automatically converted after a period of time that they have worked in an organization, in as much as they have a good history with the organization and met the requirements of a full staff position.” Mr. Bamigboye said.
In addition, “I will advise the government to make or enforce the law that prohibit discrimination of workers in an organization, at least this would reduce the rate of discrimination in an organization when the law is enforced.
“Also I would advise the government to make a law that will allow organizations create a condusive environment for its staff, for example, bonus, or incentives should be given to all staff not just full time staff.
“Payment should also be commensurate to work, as this will inspire people to work more and give their best because they are happy and well compensated, which will be a positive inclusion to the banking sector”.