Some former employees of Union Bank Plc, on Thursday dragged the bank before the National Industrial Court sitting at Ring Road, Ibadan, over alleged maltreatment and mismanagement of their pension.
The former employees who are 203 in number, exited the employment of the bank at different times between 2007 and 2018.
They are contending that the Pension Reform Act 2004 (as repealed) is not aimed at reducing the pension already earned but to improve on it, alleging that the bank had reduced their monthly pension entitlement by over 70 percent since 2013 till date without any justification.
Counsel to the former employees, Adeniyi Isola, informed the court that the case borders on the mismanagement of pension funds by Union Bank, explaining that before the contributory pension scheme took off, the bank had an in-house pension scheme that handled pension affairs.
“There was an in-house pension scheme of the bank that handled pension affairs before the commencement of the contributory pension scheme but the bank claimed it invested the money and lost the money in the investment. They mismanaged the pension and are maltreating their ex-workers that served the bank and helped to create wealth. Since all entreaties have failed, we have no choice than to come and find justice from the law,” he stated.
However, counsel to the bank, Olayanju Eto-Abasi, prayed the court for an extension of time to file the bank’s defense.
The presiding judge, Justice John Peter granted the bank’s request and adjourned the matter till November 6, 2019 for mention.
The former employees are asking for an order of the court directing the bank to pay the sum of N710, 145,650.76k to the first to 95th claimants, being the aggregate arrears of shortfall in their monthly pension entitlement received since 2013 till date of filing the suit and the sum of N965, 157, 906.82k to 96th to 203rd claimant, being the aggregate arrears of shortfall in their monthly pension entitlement received since 2011 till the date of filing the suit.
They further asked for a court order mandating the bank to pay the claimants the sum of N19, 316, 353.83 as damages per month effective from 2007 till date until the suit is finally determined being the pension shortfall they will continue to suffer on account of the bank’s conduct and payment of 42 percent interest rate on the judgment debt from February 2013 until judgment is finally liquidated.
They also asked for a mandatory order directing Union Bank to transfer the balance of N16.2 billion Legacy Pension Fund and N26.57 billion accrued rights it withheld since March 2008 to the two pension fund administrator; Premium Pension Ltd and AIICO Pension Managers Ltd to enable the managers pay full monthly pension sum contained in their respective letter of disengagement or retirement until their death, as well as an order directing the bank to deduct five percent of the aggregate amount paid into the current account of the first to 95th claimant and the retirement savings account of the 96th to 203rd claimant.
Another request they tendered is for a declaration that they have acquired vested rights in the pension payable and paid to each of them by the bank up to January 31, 2013 from the union Bank of Nigeria Plc Staff Pension Scheme under the bank’s Staff Pension Fund’s Deed of Variation of Trust Deed, adding that the court should declare that the Memorandum of Understanding dated August 12, 2015 executed between the bank and Union Bank of Nigeria Pensioners Association without their consent and approval is null and void among other requests.