The economic downturn in Nigeria has begun to take a toll on the insurance sector, as many have slashed their workers’ salaries by as much as 50 per cent.
Sources revealed that some of the operatives had stretched the targets for premium generation for their employees; while some have rationalised their departments so as to lay off those they feel are no longer useful to the business.
The Guardian learnt that even administrative workers in some firms have been deployed into marketing, threatening to withhold or cut their salaries if they failed to meet it (targets).
An insurance employee, who spoke to our correspondent in confidence, said: “Before, it was only the marketers that they used to give targets. Now, some of us also have targets ranging between N40, 000 and N100, 000 monthly, and our promotion and salaries are tied to our performance.”
Speaking on the development, the Director-General, Nigerian Insurers Association (NIA), Sunday Thomas, said the current economic recession has operators into marketing because they need the premium to operate all the departments. “It will not be out of order for the companies to give employees targets except the target is unrealistic,” he added.
Expressing concern over the development, the Secretary-General, National Union of Banks, Insurance and Financial Institutions’ Employees (NUBIFIE), Mohammad Sheick, said the union is very worried about the situation.
Sheick, disclosed weekend in Lagos that sacks in the banking sector is the biggest headache the union has, as many of its members may be jobless soon if the trend continued.
According to him, “There is apprehension in the banking sector. Recently, there was mass sacking by banks and the Federal Government directed that those who were sacked during that period should be recalled.
“We have had about two meetings with the Federal Ministry of Labour on the issue. We are hopefully looking forward to the Ministry calling us to another meeting so that we can have an understanding on how to respond to the emerging issues like economic recession and other factors that are affecting the operations of banks.
“Even before the economic recession, the banks have always responded to any policy of the government negatively. The first thing that came to the mind of the banks’ management, which the union has always disagreed with, is to lay off workers.
“They (banks) have to think outside the box and objectively. If they want to cut cost or reduce certain expenditure because of certain government’s policy, then the reality is that they should know where they should direct their attention.”