The central bank has said it will take actions against banks if allegations of layoff in those banks on various pretexts amid the Covid-19 pandemic are proved.
Central bank officials recently inspected six private banks based on complaints from various retrenched bankers.
During the inspection, the central bank found that 3,313 bank employees either resigned or were laid off between January 2020 and August this year. Of them, 3,070 resigned voluntarily even though they had not reached their retirement age. Another 201 people were removed, 30 officers were sacked, and 12 others were laid off.
While preparing the inspection report, the inspection team has talked to many who voluntarily resigned. Most of them said they had been forced to resign. A number of them alleged that they had been given a verbal ultimatum to voluntarily resign within a certain time, otherwise no benefit would be provided.
They also alleged that none of the existing rules, including serving a show-cause notice, had been followed in most cases of their removal, dismissal, lay off, or retrenchment.
In the wake of the findings from the visit, a delegation from the Association of Bankers Bangladesh (ABB), an organisation of managing directors of banks, met with Bangladesh Bank Governor Fazle Kabir on Monday. The governor warned the management about the worker layoffs.
However, the ABB delegation claimed that no employee was laid off without a reason during the Covid-19 pandemic, and if there are such cases, those will be reviewed for taking further action.
Central Bank Deputy Governor Kazi Saidur Rahman and Abu Farah Md Naser were also present at the meeting. On behalf of the ABB, Ali Reza Iftekhar, chairman and managing director of Eastern Bank, Syed Mahbubur Rahman, former chairman and managing director of Mutual Trust Bank, were present.
A number of central bank officials told The Business Standard that bank officials had worked risking their lives during the pandemic and as a result, the banks made more profits than before. Even then, many banks have laid off workers.
People working in the banking sector are in panic now, which is by no means desirable, said a central bank official.
Bangladesh Bank Executive Director Sirajul Islam said the banks had been told that action would be taken against them if the allegations of lay-off are proved. Bankers have said they did not intentionally lay off anyone. There were various allegations against many of the retrenched staff, which might have caused their layoff.