“Retrenchment, Job Cuts, Laid Off – Any End To These in 2010?”

Before I wish you a merry Xmas as is customary at this time of the year; I am asking myself if there is much to be merry about and yes there is. We have to thank God for the gift of life, living and good health. Even if the events of the past few months are not too good to be happy about, we have hope that we will still eat of the good fruit of the land. It is not time to despair or be pulled down, NO it is time to look forward and think ahead.

One of the things that will stand us apart for glory next year is the ability to plan forward. To think of the future in a proactive way; ensuring that our usual fire brigade approaches are not employed for the year 2010. As you might have noticed; pundits have already told us not to expect any miracle in 2010, some have even predicted a harder one than 2009. I pray and hope they are not right as I don’t think our dear country needs such times again.

2009 has broken all the records. Just last week, a record 5000 bank workers lost their jobs. What is distressing is that this huge number is shared only amongst 3 banks, a source of worry since there is a possibility that some other banks would join in this exercise. The banking sector established itself as the top recruiter of new graduates and many can testify that this industry ensured a steady source of employment to the lucky ones. If the same industry is now purging itself of workers and fails to inject new ones; the outlook is very bad.

The man at the helm of affairs at the CBN, Sanusi Lamido has been accused of being behind all things gone wrong in the banking sector including the sack of employees. There have been a lot of speculations and rumours about this being an ethnic war. But the questions remains if the banks were truly in trouble or not or how can a bank that declared Billions of Naira in profit last year suddenly declare a loss this year. This shows the rot has been eating deep and it only took one man to expose all the nonsense going on unabated in our financial institutions. You might ask why he should stir the hornet’s nest, but my friend that is what we really need.

What I don’t like about all these are that only one sector of the economy is being cleaned. That is a wrong way to fix Nigeria. The rot is in every sector of our dear nation. From education, infrastructures, health, sports to others. We have failed in all things and so it is unfair that an industry is taking all the hit. We need a leader who will clean all places; we don’t need just one sub-leader to clean his own side. That is the problem we are facing now. What is going to happen is very obvious. Jobs have been lost, share prices are rock bottom, and the economy is still comatose. We will have more people thinking of other ways to make money to continue their opulence lifestyle. Some will get it clean and some will resort to clandestine ways. The impact of job losses is very big because for every employed soul in Nigeria, there are about 20 dependants or more. So, when a man losses his job, it is not only him that takes the hit but many others around him.

My point is simple; it is unfair to precipitate change in one industry leading to a big Tsunami when a lot of things are still wrong with our polity. Imagine a country where there is no social security, where quality health care is almost non-existent. When major job cuts happen in serious countries; the governments have a way of cushioning the effects to help her citizens adjust to it. There are no such measures in Nigeria. Also, our labour laws are moribund and non-effective. It would be hard for companies to carry out mass sacking like these if we have good labour laws. But well, anything can happen in Nigeria and they get away with it. I wonder what Sanusi’s bosses think of all these now but the main boss is sick and can’t even care about the plight of ordinary Nigerians. If there are more Sanusis, with a bigger Sanusi on top of our affairs as President; I can positively tell you that we won’t be facing such major problems in our country at the moment.

It is worthy of note that job cuts were not the exclusive prerogative of the banking sector in 2009. Other industries had their major share of the pie. An obvious one was in the Telecommunication sector where a particular operator sacked about 600 and outsourced another 700. The smaller industries who act as allies providing services to the banking, Telecoms and Oil sectors have been hit too because everyone is cutting costs. So, in conclusion, it has not been a very rosy year for the employee.

But wait, in the midst of all these some people got promoted, got new jobs and some were sent abroad for lucrative assignments and trainings. That is the irony of life and you wonder why someone is crying and the neighbour is rejoicing at the same time. A lot of people have benefited from the meltdown in one way or the other. Entrepreneurial abilities of otherwise laid back persons have been woken up just because reality is now facing everyone. My next post; which will be up in a few hours will talk of ways to be a part of those who will laugh in 2010. I believe the word of God which says that when others are cast down, we will be lifted up. So, when we talk of outlooks and all that, we must talk about ways of beating the forecasts. Watch Out!