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Oct 1, 2015

…CWU President Says Prime Minister’s Words Are Little Comfort in Discussions

Audrey Matura-Shepherd

The government has passed a Vesting Act which facilitates the transfer of shares from FCIB to the Heritage Bank. There was some opposition to the passage because it was felt it removed any employee leverage in terms of negotiations. The Prime Minister allayed those fears by stating that the act would not come into law until he gave the green light, pending the resolution of outstanding issues. Matura-Shepherd says that those words aren’t much consolation at this point.

 

Audrey Matura-Shepherd, President, Christian Workers Union

“We know that anything that is said is just words. If you’re serious you put it into writing. Up to today we’ve never gotten a letter or any correspondence in response to our letter, from the Prime Minister, the Minister of Labour or anyone. And so we accept that we are the underdogs in this. It’s good that he said it and he sticks to it, but how would he know if he has never reached out to us to know where we stand. It would therefore mean that he keeps talking only to Mr. Glen Smith and knows through Mr. Glen Smith or knows through the manager of Heritage Bank who is impacted and would know through the Central Bank who has a regulatory role in this. From the end of the union we are kept out of the circle and the conversation if there is still any conversation. But that does not make us feel depressed or bad because at the end of the day it is recognized that in our country those who offer their labour are the ones who make this economy work and if workers do not understand the power they have and if workers do not understand how intentionally the laws and systems have always been at their disadvantage and stand up for themselves then I can’t do anything beyond that. Imagine that at FCIB we have done what is lawfully our right to put the notice and no other than the Labour Commissioner is trying to persuade us not to invoke the law. That looks bad.”

 

Mike Rudon

“When do you foresee an end to negotiations in terms of exit packages because there is a time factor? I understand that the bank is set to leave completely by the end of October.”

 

Audrey Matura-Shepherd

“You know, you know more than us and the date because although we’ve pressed at our meeting at the bank to give us a date; tell us when you are leaving, they refuse to give us…they say that they themselves don’t know, which we don’t believe although we’ve heard they have given a target date at the Central Bank. The bank, FCIB, has not negotiated in good faith. We can list the whole track record of their bad faith; from the time that they knew they would leave and we wrote them all of that—the whole fact that they operate in secrecy, there is no disclosure. And then the one thing that the workers try to put on the table that is their right that they try to use, they try and push for it to be removed and for us not to protect our rights under the law. Imagine…it shows only bad faith. And if they don’t come to the negotiating table come next week Monday which is a slated date that we agreed to with the Labour Commissioner—and you all know because the Labour Commissioner went on air and said it, we said that that’s the date and they never refuted it—the two dates are set for the twenty-eighth of September and the fifth of October. If they don’t come to the negotiating table, it is just proof to the whole country and the world that they never acted in good faith.”

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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