Regional unions oppose Scotiabank's restructuring

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

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A group of regional union leaders, led by Jamaica's Bustamante Industrial Trade Union (BITU), vowed yesterday to challenge Scotiabank's transitional programme across the region.

Six visiting trade unionists, who arrived in Jamaica over the weekend to join the BITU's response to Scotiabank's plans to transition three local service units to the Dominican Republic, said they were alarmed to learn prior to yesterday's briefing that Scotiabank had announced overnight the sale of banks in nine Eastern Caribbean countries, as well as it insurance operations in Jamaica.

BITU President Senator Kavan Gayle accused the bank of “job trafficking”.

“What we call job trafficking is the act of bullying, selling or transferring of employees without clear justification,” Senator Gayle said.

He criticized the bank's actions.

Gayle said that the unions consider the action as an immoral practice employed by enterprises operating across several countries, where positions and employments are transferred from one place to another or from one country to another, for profit without consideration given to its impact on the employees.

He alleged that it is a new move by multinationals to transition roles to where wages are cheaper and workers are not unionised.

“We understand business is business, but we are of the profound view that business must have a heart. We are saying to ... multinational[s], 'Job trafficking must stop',” Gayle added.

He said that the unions would continue the advocacy against the practice as long as it continues.

Also attending the press conference were: Trevor Johnson, general secretary of the Bank, Insurance, General Workers union of Trinidad and Tobago; David Massiah, general secretary of Antigua and Barbuda Workers Union; Theresa Mortimer, president of the Bahamas Financial Services Union; Henry Olivera, senior organiser of Union Network International, a global white collar union; and Marcio Monzane, general secretary of UNI America.

UNI Global Union, based in Nyon, Switzerland, represents more than 20 million workers from over 150 different countries.

— See related story in Business Observer

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