Statement: Ghana Psychological Association Worried Over Layoffs Following The Consolidation Of Five Banks

The Ghana Psychological Association (GPA) has noted with disquiet the ongoing layoffs particularly in the banking sector following the consolidation of five banks (Sovereign Bank, Royal Bank, The Beige Bank, Construction Bank and Unibank) in the country. Media reports in the last couple of weeks suggest that hundreds or possibly over a thousand of bank employees are on the verge of losing their jobs.

While the GPA is not opposed to any intervention by the central bank to safeguard the fortunes of depositors and to sanitize the banking system to ensure efficiency and economic growth, it is dissatisfied by the manner in which workers of the banks are losing their jobs. For instance, some workers claim that they were assured of no layoffs but that is not the case now. This lack of transparency erodes confidence and trust in management, affects productivity and future negotiations.

The layoffs have been traumatising by their very sudden nature and outcomes could be catastrophic. Our professional members are inundated with distress calls. It appears that proper psychological care has not been given to the human side of the consolidation. To the best of our knowledge, affected employees have not received relevant and tailor-made outplacement service to help them adjust to their current situation in order to function well at home and in society. Surviving employees need reassurances and stress management interventions to stabilize their emotions and make them productive.

Studies show that lack of psychological interventions for both affected and surviving workers could fester counterproductive work behaviours such as sabotage and poorer work attitude including lower organizational commitment and low job involvement, which can invariably harm the organization or the people associated with the organization including employees and customers.

The GPA urges the Central Bank not to just Break News to media outlets on such Consolidations but to ensure that all relevant stakeholders are duly engaged in the change process. We further call on the Central Bank to demand of the New Management of the Consolidated Bank to be transparent in the processes and outcomes of the consolidation exercise to reduce uncertainty and to boost the morale of surviving workers.

The GPA also urges the Management of the Consolidated Bank Ltd to provide outplacement services such as stress management and skills development to displaced employees to reduce the negative consequences of job loss. We urge the Central Bank and the New Management to collaborate with the GPA now and in the future so as to protect the psychosocial wellbeing of all stakeholders around such consolidations. The GPA further encourages employees of the affected banks finding it difficult to adjust because of job loss or uncertainty in the banking sector to contact the association for psychological assistance.

SIGNED:
Richmond Acquah-Coleman
Public Relations Officer



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