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Oct 1, 2015

Are Negotiations with FCIB Shaping Out Well for Bank Employees?

For one week, sixty employees of the First Caribbean International Bank from five branches countrywide were out sick. Those terribly ill employees are those who will be left without jobs when FCIB locks up shop, allegedly at the end of this month. They want FCIB to negotiate proper exit packages for them, considering their long tenure with the bank and the very sudden notice that they were joining the unemployment line. They’ve since returned to work, but when we spoke to CWU President Audrey Matura-Shepherd today, we didn’t exactly get the sense that discussions on exit packages were proceeding in a satisfactory manner. 


Audrey Matura-Shepherd

Audrey Matura-Shepherd, President, Christian Workers Union

“We had a meeting earlier this week, on Monday, and we are supposed to have another one on the fifth of October. From the perspective of our union and our negotiating team every meeting that has been scheduled we will be there. And the reason we will be there is that we genuinely want to be at the table, It is not an easy situation to be in because all the chips are in FCIB’s favour. They have their vesting act that has already been gazetted since the eighteenth of September. It is only awaiting the SI in which the date will be set. They are allowed secrecy in what they do because they shield themselves under the banking act and say they can’t do this and they can’t do that and they can’t do the other. And of course they know they’re leaving so whatever they want to do they can do and leave. That is the benefit they have. From our end the benefit that we have is that our workers remain united and that we will go to the negotiating table. There is a process within the Essential Services Act and our members fall under the Essential Services Act. And so under that Act, recognizing that we are essential services we have already put into effect Section eleven and fifteen wherein once we apprehend a dispute or there is a dispute already we are to write the Minister and bring it to his attention. We did that already since September fourteen. We then give twenty-one days notice in which the Minister can act, react or do whatever he or she wants and after twenty-one day even though we will continue negotiating we know that if we have to make any lawful step for industrial action we are covered lawfully.”

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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