Government places more pressure on Scotiabank management

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With the passing of the amendments to the Antigua and Barbuda Labor Code on Thursday in Parliament, further pressure may be brought to bear on the management of the Bank of Nova Scotia as it relates to the bank’s obligations to employees.

Prime Minister Gaston Browne hinted at the changes after highlighting that workers at the financial institution brought several issues to the attention of the government.

One of those issues is the matter of severance which is owed to the workers.

“In the case of Antigua and Barbuda Scotiabank branch, in the unlikely event they were successful in gaining the vesting order in selling this branch to Republic Bank, they would have to pay the severance. We’ve given the staff the right or the right exercised option of taking the severance and continue to work or take the severance and leave. If they wish to commute the service, the employee must have that right. It is his labor, it is his fundamental right to determine for who he works,” he said.

Browne also mentioned changes in the Labour Code, which outline procedures which should be followed when the employer is operating a limited liability company and shares are being sold and there is no change in the structure of the business.

“If, for example, Republic Bank was buying shares in Scotiabank and the name remains Scotia then the issue of severance will not arise. But when you are selling to a different institution, you are leaving, you are turning over, you are selling the business to a completely new entity then the issue of severance must arise.

“Now there is a loophole within the Labour Code in which you had a situation when severance served to Rubis because of a particular clause in the Code, the staff there did not get any severance, that’s what happened. That is why it is important for us to make this change now,” Browne proclaimed.  

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