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Oct 9, 2015

FCIB Employees Protest

With time running out, this morning and during the lunch hour, employees at all branches of the First Caribbean Bank were protesting since they have been unable to reach agreement with the Bank over an exit package. Their actions started with sick outs and have now escalated to protests.  Now, the is bank is considered essential services so employees cannot protest freely and in this case, neither are they allowed to give interviews. The issue has been brewing for some time, in fact since when it was announced that the bank was exiting having sold its assets to Heritage Bank. At a midday today protest at the F.C.I.B. headquarters on Albert Street, the C.W.U. President, Audrey Matura-Shepherd said that the bank is negotiating in bad faith.


Audrey Matura-Shepherd

Audrey Matura-Shepherd, President, C.W.U.

“There are several things we need to  clarify: one it is utmost disrespect  for the bank to send a release that clearly states that the staff is being misled by the leader of the union.; that is disrespect because they believe that the unions cannot think for themselves and they are trying to make it seem that at our union the top makes the decision but that is not how we operate, we are not like the bank where at the top they make the decision and they tell the plantation slaves what to do. We believe in democracy in our union and it is the workers, they are the one who feel the pinch and in their minds they know what it is to do. There is absolutely no case where we compel people to do something they don’t want to do. We believe in freedom and the union it is not a plantation service like it is at the bank. The other thing is that what is an outright lie is that they don’t want to negotiate, they want that the workers under the law of section sixteen under the essential services act, if there is a dispute they should write the Prime Minister that there is a dispute and an apprehended dispute, they want that the workers remove notice. But that notice can’t be removed because the law says that if you want to do any industrial action you would have had to give notice twenty-one days before. It’s been more than twenty-one days since they don’t want to negotiate in good faith and so if they remove that notice, what it is is that if they remove that service then you don’t have that notice to shield you and they can fire you and if we fire you then you won’t get any benefit. That’s the one thing the workers have and that’s what they are holding on to. But because the bank really operatives like a slave plantation, there is really saying if you don’t move that notice, we won’t talk to you. That’s not fair, if you said to them overall if you don’t remove your vesting act, we will not talk to you and to remove the vesting act, so we are saying we can’t remove the notice either. It was just to show them a parallel that its unfair, this is a classic example of where the minister that is mighty try to crumble the smaller ones, the tiny ones”

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