The employees at Scotiabank are concerned over their benefits owed to them once the bank hands over its assets to the Caribbean Investments Holdings Limited (CIHL). Love News received copies of documents that show how the employees have been lobbying for the Christian Workers Union (CWU) to be their bargaining agent throughout the transition. In a letter from concerned employees it was noted that they have witnessed in recent months the moves made at the Belize Bank Limited and the Port of Belize including salary cuts and termination of staff. Both the Belize Bank and the Port of Belize are affiliated with the CIHL and the staff of Scotiabank have grown worried that the same actions will take effect once the Ashcroft company, CIHL takes over. President of the Christian Workers Union Mose Hyde has been lobbying with the employees for them to get union representation but up to news time tonight the bank had denied their request. The union sent its first letter on August 7 to the bank with its request to be the bargaining agent for the employees. A response came two weeks later denying their request on the grounds that they did not meet the statutory requirements in the Trade Unions and Employers Organization Act. The CWU sent a second written request with additional information but on Friday, September 24 another letter was sent from the Marine Chambers Law Firm to the CWU denying their request. Love News spoke with CWU’S President Mose Hyde on the current situation.
Evan Mose Hyde, President, Christian Workers Union: “We were approached by a worker representative from ScotiaBank asking us to represent and wanting to join the union and we essentially described to them the process that would involve and they set about trying to achieve the required threshold which is essentially to get 50% plus one. I believe they went beyond that threshold and they filled out the application to the tripartite body and the tripartite body then approached notifying them about the request from their employees. The attorney who was on behalf of ScotiaBank questioning the application and the procedures and A-Z with the applications and things to be done and the bank is not agreeable to the process. So the tripartite body ultimately is going to, was set actually to look at that matter today but their meeting was postponed. The fundamental thing is that the ground has moved beneath the feet of those employees and they are seeking to get some kind of representation because they understand that this process is happening very quickly.”
The acquisition of Scotiabank by the Caribbean Investment Holdings Limited is yet to be sanctioned by the Central Bank of Belize. In an interview a few weeks back with Prime Minister Dean Barrow, the Central Bank is still doing its due diligence on the proposed buyover but to date the bank has not issued a confirmation. Mose Hyde explained to Love News that notwithstanding the pending approval from Central Bank they are preparing to negotiate and it is the union’s hope that the Central Bank will listen to the concerns of the employees at Scotiabank.
The Tripartite Body is an entity within the Ministry of Labour that confirms the unions as bargaining agents. In this case the CWU President has indicated that they will continue their appeal the Tripartite Body to be accepted on behalf of the Scotiabank employees. Our newsroom will keep following this developing story.