Scotiabank principals hold “fruitful” dialogue with local trade union

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The union representing Scotiabank workers in Antigua and Barbuda has described as “successful” its first official meeting with the principals of the Canadian based bank to discuss the pending sale of its local operations.
The talks, held at the Trade Winds Hotel, centered on the proposed sale to Republic Financial Holdings Limited (RFHL) of Trinidad and Tobago, and its likely impact on the workers whose bargaining agent is the Antigua and Barbuda Workers Union (ABWU).
The union’s General Secretary David Massiah said while all queries regarding the transaction between Scotiabank and Republic were not answered, he is satisfied with the outcome. Massiah said the union met with the bank’s legal team that deals with Labour Relations.
He said they were able to sign two Collective Agreements for some of the non-managerial staff, while also commencing discussions on behalf of managers. “Outside of that, we had discussions with regards to the proposed transaction between Scotiabank and Republic, and we were able to upload on behalf of the employees whether or not the employees should be automatically transferred and the conditions of the public unit.
“We wanted to find out about the time frame they are hoping to conclude the transaction. The discussions were very cordial at best. The representatives were not able to give us all the answers right now, but a commitment was made to meet with us shortly to continue the dialogue,” Massiah said.
The meeting comes days after planned talks between Prime Minister Gaston Browne and directors of Scotiabank were pushed back, reportedly due to scheduling conflicts. Last November, the directors of the bank announced that Scotia would be exiting nine Caribbean territories – Antigua and Barbuda, St. Maarten, Anguilla, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
At that time, they indicated that they had entered into an agreement with Republic Financial Holdings to purchase its banking operations in these non-core markets for US$123 million. The governments of Antigua and Barbuda and Guyana expressed reservations about the transaction, with Antigua’s Prime Minister threatening not to issue the vesting order to facilitate the sale unless locals are given the right of first refusal

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