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Sep 11, 2015

G.O.B. Prepares to Pass Vesting Act

Audrey Matura-Shepherd

So what’s the next move? That wasn’t spelled out in the clearest of terms but let’s just say that it doesn’t seem that the employees who were suddenly taken sick today are going to be better by Monday…or even by Tuesday, when Government intends to push through the Vesting Act which will enable to transition of shares from FCIB to Heritage Bank.

 

Audrey Matura-Shepherd, President, Christian Workers Union

“Is it morally justified for the big entities, in this case the private banks, the Central Bank and the Minister of Finance—through the government—to hold and close ranks against employees. Is that morally right? Because whatever the employees are asking for is negotiable and you have to understand that I think, placed with their backs against the wall, when you have nothing to lose, I think sometimes you are prepared to die for what you believe. I will say this…you said that it was some industrial action. Let me make something very clear, at FCIB, every employee is entitled to six days sick leave without notice. So you have six days where you can call in one day and say you’re sick and you don’t have to bring a doctor paper. And those who don’t have that six days just need to bring a doctor paper. Our labour laws clearly cover and protect anyone who is sick. The coincidence that everybody gets sick at the same time, it has to tell you the magnitude of the shock and the trauma that they are going through. It didn’t only happen to one; that speaks volume. You have to understand what is at stake here for these people. People who are willing and go and work the extra to make sure…imagine you have to go and work to hand over your job to someone else and you are prepared to do that. All you are asking for in return is please consider me. I will be without a job. I owe you, as a financial institution, I owe you money. Please let us talk, let us see what could be put in place to ease the blow. That’s all they want…ease the blow. Let us talk about what can help so that we, in all good conscience can continue doing what we are doing, but we know and we feel that you, First Caribbean Bank, who has been saying to us that you care about the employees…that you really care about our situation. This has not shown that. And then they go a step further. It is a situation where now, not only are they saying that to the bank, but we’ve said it to the government and to Central Bank…we know there is a process to follow, but please do not rush through that process without considering what are the options and what are the detriment to the employees.”

 

We tried to get comment from FCIB’s Country Manager Glen Smith today, but we were told that he was unavailable.

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