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Scotiabank wage settlement in sight

Thursday, November 14, 2019

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THE threat of industrial action by unionised workers employed to Scotia Group has been withdrawn as the parties move close enough to an agreement on pay increases, which could be settled by weekend.

The Bustamante Industrial Trade Union (BITU), which represents the workers, has already started a round of consultations with members, which is expected to lead to a settlement by Friday and the possibility of signing a new agreement by next week.

The company's latest offer was not released but, according to BITU President Senator Kavan Gayle, the union is finally in a position where it can go to the workers with something tangible.

“We now have something we think we can recommend to the workers, so we are communicating with them this week,” Senator Gayle said yesterday.

The union and the workers had rejected an offer of 4.5 per cent increase in the first year of a proposed new two-year agreement, and a further four per cent in the second year, and are demanding increases of nine per cent and 8.5 per cent, instead.

The union has been resisting the increase which is based on current inflation rates, noting that the bank made a profit of $9.8 billion while reducing staff and redirecting services, which placed undue burdens on the workers.

Scotia Group Jamaica President and CEO David Noel late last year said that the bank is becoming more customer focused, and has highlighted data showing that customers are leveraging its digital platforms to transact their banking business.

However, since the announcement, the proposed closure of its historic King Street branch last November to accommodate a $40- million refurbishing project, merging its operations into that of the Scotia Centre, Duke Street. The project has been stalled by several months, resulting in a slowdown of operations at King Street which is now accommodating the staff and customers from both branches, instead.

— Balford Henry


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