Striking bank workers frustrate customers


July 18, 2018

By Regina Pratt

Aggrieved: RCBank workers downed tools yesterday

Customers doing business with the two state-owned banks – Sierra Leone Commercial Bank and Rokel Commercial Bank – were yesterday unable to do their usual banking transactions after employees of both banks simultaneously engaged in a sit-down strike action.

The junior staff associations of the two banks had in a press release highlighted their grievances against the content of the 2018 Supplementary Budget approved by Parliament last Friday.

Paragraph 100 of the said budget provides that payment of leave allowance to all public sector workers, including state-owned enterprises, state-owned banks, NASSIT and all extra-budgetary agencies would now be one month of their gross salary.

Sources at the bank say the previous condition entailed thirty percent of gross annual salary.

Feeling aggrieved, junior staff members of the one hundred percent and fifity-one percent Sierra Leone Commercial Bank and Rokel Commercial Bank respectively, decided to engage in a sit-down strike action in their various branches across the country yesterday.

A Rokel Commercial Bank customer who only identified himself as J. Kargbo, expressed disappointment that he was unable to withdraw money from his account as a result of the strike action.

“I believe that if there is any issue with the government and the staff of the bank, management should organise an indoor meeting so that it would not affect us,” he said.

Another customer at the Sierra Leone Commercial Bank who preferred anonymity justified the action of the aggrieved employees, adding that hard work should be paid for.

Meanwhile, Chairman of National Commission for Privatization, Umaru Napoleon Koroma, intervened and asked the striking workers to resume work today while government discusses their concern over leave allowance and general welfare.