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Jan 29, 2016

CIBC Closes Its Doors in Belize

CIBC First Caribbean International Bank officially exited Belize today. All its branches across the country also closed and banking transactions are shutting down as of tonight to make way for a flawless transition. In August of 2015, the bank announced that it was selling its assets to Heritage Bank and pulling out of Belize. While the issue of assets was settled; employment for some sixty employees remained in limbo. There were a series of protests primarily at the Belize City Branch when the news of the closure broke and the Christian Workers Union attempted to negotiate an exit package, but there were breakdowns in the negotiation process. Tonight, there is relief for members of staff. Some thirty will be moving over to the Heritage Bank, and late last Thursday, a Memorandum of Agreement was signed between the respective parties. Country Manager Glen Smith confirmed this today to News Five.

 

Glen Smith

Glen Smith, Country Manager, CIBC First Caribbean Bank

“Our staff is our biggest asset that we have and we wanted to treat them fairly and in a manner that the bank could afford to do. And so after months of difficult and tough negotiations, both sides were sufficiently professional enough to at the end of the day sit down at the table and come up to what we consider to be a reasonable benefits package for our staff. As you know the bank maintains that we do not negotiate in public; we consider the privacy of our staff sacrosanct and so we will not get into the details of what the package was, but it was much better than the minimum requirements by law. And so we are proud that we were able to reach an agreement with them that they could live with and that would see to tie them over the challenges over the next month or two. And we consider it to be a very fair package that we were able to agree on. The Christian Workers’ Union is the recognized bargaining agent for the staff; they have our maximum respect and we see them as our industrial relations partners who we have to negotiate with. The staff is our staff, they are employed by us and we seek to always take the best care of our staff that we can do within the limits of our ability to afford. And so we have no issue with staff having demonstrations or doing whatever they consider necessary in furtherance of an industrial dispute. It is part of the development of industrial relations law and practice and Belize’s coming of age. So the bank understands that and is able to appreciate their rights to do that. And also the staff at the end of the day came back to the bargaining table, sat down and as true professionals; we were able to come to a negotiated settlement.”

 

Duane Moody

“That’s without the leadership of the CWU?”

 

Glen Smith

“I am not aware of the leadership not being present.”

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