KINGSTON, Jamaica, November 24, 2018 (CMC) – The president of the Bustamante Industrial Trade Union (BITU), Kavan Gayle, says that the dispute with Scotiabank Jamaica, over the transitioning of more jobs to other Caribbean countries, could grow into a regional confrontation with the financial institution, by next week.
“We are getting support from unions in The Bahamas, Antigua, Grenada, and even Latin America, as well as the international body for unions representing bank workers, Global Union. They want to discuss the matter with us because they, too, feel threatened by this trend,” Gayle is quoted as saying in the Jamaica Observer newspaper.
Gayle’s comments followed the failure of the bank and the union to make any progress in local-level talks, held on Wednesday, in an effort to settle the dispute, which has been triggered, primarily, by the bank’s decision to continue transitioning local units to locations outside of Jamaica.
The strategy dates back to 2013, when Scotiabank formed Operations and Shared Services Company Ltd. (OSSCL) in Trinidad and Tobago. The bank moved its back-office operations, inclusive of account processing, reconciliations, customer support, and collection services to Port of Spain, to cover customers in Trinidad and Tobago and 17 other countries in the Caribbean, from that location.
Scotia’s management has said that these moves are part of its international strategy, focusing on investing resources in potential markets, where the bank anticipates solid, long-term economic growth.
Gayle said that several jobs were lost due to the Trinidad and Tobago operation, and the union and the workers felt that the parent bank, Canada’s Bank of Nova Scotia, was not showing enough interest in the positive changes taking place in the Jamaican economy, nor the bank’s local successes.
Last year, Scotiabank Group recorded net income of J$12.4 billion, an increase of J$817 million, or seven percent over 2016.