Former employees of the defunct Crane bank are demanding for compensation of Shs 48bn (about Shs 120 each) from Bank of Uganda arising from alleged breach of contract.
The 400 former Crane bank employees are represented by ten of their former workmates – Catherine Kate Achan, Teddy Akullo, Janet Mector Angwena, Mactose Arinaitwe, Edward Bukenya, Dianah Loy Kiwumulo, Abbey Mivule, Benjamin Muchwa, Robert Mwanje and Emmanuel Ngororan.
Until October 26, 2016 the group was being employed by Crane bank. Bank of Uganda (BoU) took over Crane bank on grounds that it was incapacitated and would pose a systematic risk to the stability of the country’s financial system.
Now through their lawyer, Isaac Semakadde, the former employees argue that on January 27, 2017, BoU informed the general public that it had transferred and conveyed the assets and liabilities of Crane bank to DFCU bank limited. The former employees argue that the purchase and takeover agreement was concealed from the employees whose rights were directly affected in the takeover process.
Semakadde contends that during the takeover process, BoU acted in bad faith, and in breach of its duties under the constitution and the law in as far as the protecting employees’ rights is concerned.
According to the complainants, on February 24, 2017 after the said takeover of Crane bank, DFCU wrote a memo to its entire staff to the effect that several employees would be collectively terminated effective immediately.
“The former workers of Crane bank that DFCU laid off on 24th February 2017 were paid three months salary or whatever terminal benefits that they wrote in the letter of dismissal. In the very same letter, DFCU gave an unjustified reason and lied about the purpose of dismissal, and now that makes the entire transaction unlawful. It lied that they were being laid off because they had been weighed and measured and found wanting, unfit for the purpose of the integrated HR structure.” Semakadde said.
The former workers argue that the collective termination of their respective employment contracts was unjustified and discriminatory as well as unlawful. They state that they have suffered humiliation, inconvenience and financial loss as a result of the highhandedness and unlawful acts of Bank of Uganda and DFCU.
They’re therefore demanding for their respective terminal benefits in accordance with the law together with a basic sum of not less than Shs 120 million to each for the loss caused to them. According to Semakadde, they will be left with no option but to sue DFCU and Bank of Uganda should they fail to heed to their demands by December 25.
“That demeaning attitude with which Bank of Uganda treated the employees it had taken over from Crane bank it’s really liable…it’s very bad, its contestable, its deplorable, its incomprehensible and we now believe that Bank of Uganda and all its officials were culpable. We expect heads to roll inside BoU. The purpose of the statutory notice is for Bank of Uganda to put this act in order to invite us into the boardroom, discuss terms of settlement and if this act won’t work then we go to war.” Semakadde added.
The complainants addressed a joint press conference with their lawyer at Hotel Triangle in Kampala. Both DFCU and BoU are yet to respond to the demands. DFCU has an asset portfolio of Shs 3 trillion, which makes it the second largest bank in Uganda after Stanbic bank.