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RBC begins voluntary separation

There is still no official word yet on the number of persons to be sent home, but a top official of the Barbados Workers Union (BWU) has confirmed that the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) has started the process of voluntary separation and early retirement.

Assistant General Secretary of the BWU Dwaine Paul made the disclosure tonight after emerging from a two hour meeting with about 15 representatives of the bank’s workers at the union’s headquarters at Harmony Hall, St Michael.

He reported that the restructuring exercise had officially begun last Thursday, adding that by next Wednesday the BWU should have in hand the full list of RBC workers who had opted to take up the packages.

Dwaine Paul

Assistant General Secretary of the BWU Dwaine Paul

“We have not been given the number of persons to be severed, but we have been told that the bank will be engaging in a voluntary separation programme, which commenced on Thursday of last week,” said Paul, while explaining that the process would occur in two parts.

“We have a voluntary set, which covers all staff and an early retirement package which focuses on staff who have reached within two and half years of retirement. The retrenchment exercise should be completed by the first quarter of 2015,” he added.

However, Paul warned that the union would be keeping an “eagle eye” on the operations of the bank to ensure that those remaining with the financial institution were       treated fairly.

“We have received today, as well as at previous meetings, complaints from staff in more than one department, primarily in Customer Service, about the shortages of staff. We will be paying very close attention to this particular area.

“We want to ensure that as the bank looks to reach what it figures is its optimal operating number that we do not have a resulting situation where staff become overburdened and stressed because we still have to be very mindful of the health and safety of workers and we cannot have staff dropping to a level which endangers people’s health.”

“We also have to be careful that we do not have a situation where we are preying on staff and preying on persons who are looking for employment . . . by having them enter these institutions under temporary contracts and being forced into full time roles for less benefits than have been traditionally offered. We have to maintain the quality of the job and the standard of the job,” Paul added.

The senior trade unionist told members of the media that during the meeting the union had discussed with the RBC staff the announcement made by the bank as it relates to the restructuring of its operations.

Paul pointed out that even though the number of workers who had turned up for the meeting was small, a representative body of all of the branches and the departments had presented their positions.      

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