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Sep 23, 2015

FCIB/CWU Negotiations to Commence on September 28th

Audrey Matura-Shepherd

Negotiations between the Christian Workers Union and the local management of the soon-to-be dissolved First Caribbean International Bank are set to commence on September twenty-eighth.  In a lengthy, mediated session on Tuesday evening, both parties agreed to maintain confidentiality over details of those discussions.  At the heart of those talks is the financial wellbeing of some sixty employees who will be made redundant when Heritage Bank Limited assumes the assets of FCIB in the weeks ahead.  Despite agreeing to those terms in principle, CWU President Audrey Matura-Shepherd says that the union will only break the accord if there is a collapse in discussions.

 

Audrey Matura-Shepherd, President, Christian Workers Union

“We have not had a timeframe.  That’s one of the issues we would have wanted to conclude; however, today’s meeting was really to set an agenda.  It’s not to conclude everything.  The first meeting actually to negotiate will be on the twenty-eighth of September which is a Monday, at that time we will be able to have a lot of details but I’ll tell you one time that we won’t be saying much once the negotiation starts because that’s one of the understanding, a good faith understanding that we have.  But we also made it clear that we will not take or agree to a gag order that the direction as to what we say or how we speak with the media comes from our membership has always come from the membership.  We were silent for a long time, when we broke the silence is because the members were clear cut as to what they wanted to be said.  We distributed in writing to the answers to four questions that they wanted people to have an answer to.  So in good faith we won’t be giving details but if things break down be assured that we have said that that’s the only time we will go to the media, if we think it will serve our purpose.”

 

Isani Cayetano

“Has the management of FCIB expressed an open receptiveness towards this newfound dialogue?”

 

Audrey Matura-Shepherd

“I’ll just say that the dialogue was very cordial and very open and I think that we got the impression, and this is my personal impression that they realized that they need to negotiate with us and it has to be in a spirit of cooperation and we try to also maintain that approach in the interest of cooperation for the interest of the workers that we want to dialogue.  So at this point it’s been more positive than negative I would say.”

 

Last Wednesday, the Vesting Act, which formally allows for the assumption of FCIB’s assets, was introduced and subsequently passed in the House of Representatives, before being elevated to upper parliament.

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