Scotiabank, BITU resume talks on transition issues next week

Scotiabank, BITU resume talks on transition issues next week

Thursday, January 10, 2019

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SCOTIABANK Jamaica and the Bustamante Industrial Trade Union (BITU) will resume discussions on the bank’s job transition plans next Thursday, January 17.

The meeting is expected to explore a number of proposals made by the union, in an effort to reduce the number of job losses which it expects will occur from the transitions.

BITU president, Senator Kavan Gayle, told the Jamaica Observer that at the last meeting on the issues with the bank’s management, the union made a number of proposals, including a request for a comprehensive human resources audit for the entire group.

He said that it would help to ascertain vacancies, not only at the bank but among the other companies in the financial group, which could be filled by the workers affected by the transition plans.

“We have also requested that the bank provide training for the workers who might be interested in taking up these vacancies, as well as an initiative for voluntary separation, so that those workers who are not affected but would prefer to leave the bank can do so,” Senator Gayle said.

“We have done this in the past where people who want to leave before retirement are allowed to do so and their vacancies filled by those who are threatened by job loss would prefer to stay,” he added.

The union has claimed that as many as 100 staff members could be affected by the transitional plans for Jamaica. The BITU is claiming that the bank should have included its members in discussions on the process of transition prior to the announcements.

The union has also insisted that some of the countries to which the bank plans to transition back room operations, including The Dominican Republic, could create customer relations problems in Jamaica.

Gayle said that the bank’s insurance arm has already been affected by two transitional changes since 2015, which he described as “job trafficking”, and insists that the workers were treated as “commercial commodities” in the process.

He said that the union believes that an audit of the bank’s Service Support Unit, for example, would show that it needs additional staff.

“We plan to resume discussions on these issues because based on our consultations we are convinced that 40 per cent of the staff which would be affected by the transitions can find vacancies in the same bank,” he stated.

In December, Scotiabank announced the sale of its banking assets in nine Eastern Caribbean countries, outside Jamaica, as well as plans to divest its life insurance business in Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago to Sagicor.

CEO of the local operation, David Noel, announced then that the local operations would see market penetration strategies being rolled out in 2019.

He also announced plans to invest $450 million in revamping the Scotia Centre branch on Duke Street, downtown Kingston, in anticipation of the closure of its King Street branch later this year.

Noel has also pointed out that the bank has several centres of excellence in Caribbean countries, including Jamaica.

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