This evening the Christian Workers Union sent out a release in which it reveals that CIBC First Caribbean International Bank will, basically, not be operating in Belize anymore. According to President of the CWU, Audrey Matura-Shepherd, top management of the bank had a meeting with the union in which it was shared that the bank has signed a sale agreement with Heritage Bank Belize. The release says quote, “The bottom-line is that CIBC is leaving Belize and once all the statutory and regulatory obligations to effect the sale are finalized, all employees will become redundant”, end of quote. Matura Shepherd says that the CEO of the bank, Rik Parkhill, explained that all of its current employees, which is about 60, will be terminated. However, all employees are expected to remain fully employed until the sale is final, which may take another three to four months. CWU has expressed disappointment with CIBC and says that it will work along with the team at CIBC to ensure that a proper exit package is crafted for the benefit of all employees to make their transition into the ranks of the unemployed as smooth as possible. The release says that starting this Thursday CWU will enter into negotiations with CIBC to work on a long-overdue Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) to replace the one which expired December 31, 2013. All benefits negotiated under this new CBA will be retroactive to January 1, 2014. Thereafter, CWU will further negotiate the redundancy package for the employees and has asked CIBC to present their offer as soon as possible so its members can be consulted. We’ll keep following this story.