Exactly 13 years ago as a young graduate of FirstBank, I wrote the letter below to the management in protests of a deduction to our – new hires – salaries.
“It was with delight that many of we inductees greeted the pay increase by FirstBank. This was because many of us had come into the bank as just a stepping-stone to better things. The training we received at the Learning Centre however convinced us otherwise. Coupled with the 60% promised pay increase, we then began to see FirstBank as a beacon. We began to re-evaluate our plans and many stopped looking at the Tuesday Guardian vacancies, building their hopes, plans and aspirations around the bank.
But now, our hopes have been shattered!
There’s a saying that says, “If you pay peanuts, only monkeys will work for you!” Well, it seems FirstBank really likes monkeys. I wonder what those of us who are not monkeys will do.
We were paid a sum of eighty-nine thousand, seven hundred and twenty five naira (N89,725) for the month of June (inline with the promised 60% increase) which even then wasn’t at par with what our colleagues in other successful banks were getting. But considering that it was FirstBank, many of us felt that we could live with it. However, it is with great surprise and dismay that we realize that FirstBanks’ version of reviving and competing in this new age is to revise salaries downward while all others are revising upwards! We have now been informed that our June salary was overpaid to the sum of N33,000 (meaning that our salaries are a paltry N56,725). Sixteen thousand, five hundred naira (N16,500) will therefore be deducted from our July and August salaries (meaning that we’ll be going home with about N40,000!).
It is my earnest belief that this decision is very ill-advised. If FirstBank does not need our services, we should be duly informed instead of tricks like this being played on us. There’s an uproar among the ranks of inductees (things have been bought, plans have been made, and friends & family have been told with joy), and I wonder; if we new staff who are supposed to be a major part of FirstBanks’ drive to reposition itself in the new-age feel so demotivated, what sort of service are we then supposed to render when we’re constantly scanning the ad pages?
If FirstBank is truly the first, it should show in all areas including that of remuneration. The new-generation banks are not paying so much because they’re doing well. Instead, they do so well because they pay their staff well so that they can live comfortably, raise their heads among their peers with pride and face their jobs without considering alternatives. Indeed, that should be FirstBanks’ target, but perhaps, it has a better strategy.
Again, I urge management to reconsider this decision because it is not in the best interests of the bank both short-term and long-term, as productivity will drop – before the axe drops! I believe that the right decision will be taken.
BEECROFT John O.
SN21211, Class Governor, Inductee Training Programme (May)”