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Sep 15, 2015

CWU President Responds to P.M.’s Criticism on Collective Bargaining Agreement

While parliamentarians were winding up the first of two consecutive house meetings to formalize the sale of FCIB’s assets to Heritage Bank Limited, CWU President Audrey Matura-Shepherd was appearing before the media.  A press conference was held this afternoon during which she responded to recent comments made by Prime Minister Barrow regarding the union’s role in negotiating for a collective bargaining agreement on behalf of the bank’s employees.  On Monday, P.M. Barrow soundly criticized Matura’s leadership, stating that since assuming office in late 2013, little has been done by the Christian Workers Union to discuss a new CBA with the bank’s management.  According to Matura, all attempts at bringing the issue to the forefront have been initiated by the union.


Audrey Matura-Shepherd

Audrey Matura-Shepherd, President, Christian Workers Union

“The other correspondence on the issue of collective bargaining agreement, whether you all believe it or not, came again from this union in May 2015.  I want the prime minister and I challenge him to bring the documentary evidence from FCIB where he says that the bank has been pushing and harassing us to meet on a CBA.  That is absolutely an outright lie and I want him to bring his correspondence because see, the folder I have here is of all the correspondence we’ve had with the bank.  We went back through our records, we went back through our emails and we took out the few letters and all the letters came clearly from this union trying to negotiate.  What is important is that we indicated in early 2015 to the bank, again we were the ones initiating, that we were going through a consultative process in which we wanted to ensure that the CBA would cover all the aspects that the workers wanted to address and we indicated to them that because of the process, we explained to them because we go to these joint meetings, we explained to them what we’re going through.  What we wanted them to know is that we were giving ourselves a deadline of giving them a draft of April thirtieth, 2015.  They had no problem with that.  We delivered that draft until May eight because we had a delay in one issue that we wanted to resolve but at that time the truth was we were still trying to confirm is there still going to be a sale because the position of the employees was clear.  If there’s going to be a sale of that business, a CBA is not important to us.  What is important to us is what is our exit package.”

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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