The National Industrial Court in Abuja has ordered First Bank of Nigeria Plc to pay its 2015 retirees their entitlements.
Justice Sanusi Kado, delivering judgment on behalf of Justices Benedict Kanyip and Rakiya Haastrup, handed down the ruling.
Justice Kado declared that the dispute between the parties was a Trade Dispute and the Industrial Arbitration Panel had the jurisdiction to have listened to the matter.
The judge further declared that the respondents had authorisation to sue in representative capacity.
He also affirmed the IAP’s award of 100 per cent payment of entitlement.
The court, however, limited it to four of the retirees who were able to prove their unpaid entitlements.
The judge further affirmed the payment of 30 per cent annual basic salary as repatriation allowance as granted by the IAP.
The respondents were also granted payment of three months salary in lieu of notice.
The court in addition affirmed the decision of the IAP for relief of waiver of up-front payment to the retirees.
It, however, set aside the award of payment of deferred pension scheme, gratuity and payment of performance and profit for 2014 financial year as earlier granted by the IAP.
The judges in their judgment also set aside the payment of 21 per cent interest rate of the entitlements from March 2015 till date.
The request of N5 billion as damages was also denied.
First Bank Plc, the appellant, had approached the court to seek redress when the IAP on March 18, 2018 entered an award in favour of the retirees (respondents).
The respondents’ counsel, Mr. Obi Chukwuma, averred that the bank in February 2015 called for voluntary retirement with incentive to interested staff.
Chukwuma further submitted that the appellant then turned around and refused the respondents their incentive retirement entitlements as earlier promised after they retired.
The appellant counsel, Mr. Godswill Nwani, in his argument said the IAP lacked jurisdiction to entertain dispute between the bank and the retirees.
Nwani also argued that the commencement of the action by the respondents in a representative capacity at the IAP made the action incompetent.
Joined as a co-respondent in the suit is the Association of Senior Staff of Bank, Insurance and Financial Institutions.