The Daily Herald writes that thirteen RBC workers were up in arms on Tuesday after an RBC official informed thirteen of them via conference call from Curaçao that the bank is downsizing and they will be terminated. RBC official Patricia Borger said in an invited comment last night that the bank’s Corporate Communications in Trinidad would be advised of The Daily Herald’s queries on the matter.
The 13 workers include a supervisor and a manager. The workers were told that they would be sent home “in a few weeks to a month,” one irate worker told this newspaper late last night. The worker said the 13 workers had been informed about the conference call about half an hour before it was held. They were told via the call that the bank was closing the Retail Collection Departments on St. Maarten and Aruba as part of its efforts to downsize and all of the workers in these departments no longer were needed. Retail Collection handles collection of loans in arrears. The workers were told that this task now would be handled by the Curaçao branch. The workers were shocked at the company’s assertion that the department is being closed due to the economy, when the bank issues quarterly statements to workers indicating how many millions in profit it has made and commending them for their hard work, one employee told this newspaper.
The worker said the bank had offered to give the workers packages such as paying off loans they might have, in exchange for their termination. The workers are scheduled to meet with management today, Wednesday, to discuss their packages. However, union BEBA has requested that workers not go into any meeting without the union present.
The workers also will seek legal advice on the matter. A BEBA representative is expected to fly to the island today to discuss the matter further. BEBA representatives are located on Curaçao, but shop stewards are based in St. Maarten.
The 13 affected workers as well as some of their concerned colleagues met with their shop stewards on the matter last night. Some 40 workers reportedly attended the meeting. The workers fear that the bank will not stop by sending home the 13 workers.
They are concerned that the bank also will be closing its Saba, Maho and Simpson Bay branches and said reports circulating indicated that another bank would be taking over RBC. The employees were very vocal at last night’s meeting, saying they would not accept being kicked out of the bank. At least one worker said they were willing to strike if it was necessary, to send a clear message to management that they would not be trampled on.