Thursday, October 8, 2015. Aaron Humes Reporting: CIBC First Caribbean Bank says it does not conduct its business in the public domain. But in the wake of the back and forth between the Christian Workers’ Union (CWU) and the Bank concerning efforts to settle the workers’ exit package as the Bank prepares to transfer its assets to Heritage Bank and wind up its business here, the Bank issued a late evening statement which claims to “set the record straight.”
The release accuses the Union and its president, Audrey Matura-Shepherd, of attempting to tarnish its reputation across the region and behaving in an unprofessional manner during the negotiations.
The Bank says it is grateful to its employees for their service and truly wishes to act in their interest by giving them a reasonable deal; it says their Union, however, is jeopardizing that process.
As an example of what it says is their best efforts to engage the Union, the Bank says it approved its Director of Industrial Relations to visit Belize in August for meetings to discuss the CWU’s counter proposals; however those meetings did not come off because the Union wanted to issue new proposals upon learning of the Bank’s plans to sell.
What comes next is a game of musical chairs between the Bank and the Union. The Bank says it repeatedly corresponded with the Union even as threats of strike action began to creep into the picture, but it got no response.
Even the intervention of the Labour Commissioner in the dispute has failed to get the two sides on track, as according to the Bank the Union has refused, under notice from its members, to withdraw their notice of strike action made as of the end of September and refused to allow the Labour Commissioner to advise the two parties.
The Bank says it remains committed to continuing its discussions with the Union. It also says it has sent this notice to its other union partners in the Caribbean.
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