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Sep 22, 2015

CWU/FCIB Deadlock Broken

Ivan Williams

After three hours of meaningful discussions which concluded at about six this evening, the deadlock between the Christian Workers Union and the management of First Caribbean International Bank has been broken.  Both parties met in mediation with Labor Commissioner, Ivan Williams, and according to CWU President, Audrey Matura-Shepherd, the session was productive.  Employees of FCIB effected a go-slow across various branches of the institution a few days prior to the passage of the Vesting Act which allows Heritage Bank Limited to acquire the local assets of FCIB.  Notwithstanding the passage of the legislation, the fate of almost sixty bank workers hung in the balance in the absence of an exit package.  Government, during the enactment of the bill, maintained that the settlement of that dispute was between the CWU and FCIB.  According to Williams, negotiations to determine the content of the exit package will begin next Monday.

 

Ivan Williams, Labor Commissioner

“Well you know at the request of the union and the management of the bank, the Labor Department was able to host a meeting today of the parties because that’s normally how it works. When the employer and the worker or the worker representative union are having issues which they cannot discuss, then it is their right to request the services of the Labor Department. So upon that request, we were able to convene a meeting of the management of the First Caribbean Bank and the union, the Christian Workers Union…the president and the executive members. Clearly it was a discussion where we tried to get from them what their issues are in relation to where they are in the discussions they have been having in regards to, what I understand, the bank intent to sell its assets and how that affects or will affect the employees in relation to the contract that exist—the employment relation that exists between the bank and its employees. And so we were able to get them to—because they were having difficulties agreeing, first, to meet and, second, to discuss the way forward. And so today we are happy that there was an amicable meeting in which they have agreed to two dates—the twenty-fifth of September and the fifth of October—where they are going to sit and meet and discuss issues of common interest in terms of the…in one regard, there is presently as we speak, a proposal from two sides. A proposal from the bank in terms—for want of a better word—exit package coming from the union and a redundancy package from the bank. And so they have agreed to sit and discuss those two proposals—one a proposal and the other a counter-proposal—with a view to come to an amicable settlement with regards to what will happen to the employees.”

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