Scotia Bank workers to receive overtime payments on Friday
Scotia Bank workers are expected to receive the overtime payments owed for the last six years, this Friday.
The Commercial Technical and Allied Workers Union (CTAWU), the union which represents the bank workers, has been in negotiations with Scotia Bank since last year’s announcement that its operations will be sold to Republic Financial Holdings Limited (RFHL), the owners of Republic Bank.
“We came to an amicable agreement on the 10th of October,” Joseph “Burns” Bonadie, the general Secretary of the union told SEARCHLIGHT yesterday afternoon.
The meeting was held at Marion House with representatives from the union, Scotia Bank and the Labour Department in attendance.
The owners of Republic Bank had previously indicated to the CTAWU that they would not be taking over liabilities of Scotia Bank.
And on September 23 and 24 several members of staff of the Halifax Street bank phoned in sick, leaving the bank with a skeleton staff after it became uncertain that staffers would receive their overtime payments, particularly since it was said that Republic Bank was ready to take over operations on September 30.
“The major outstanding matter was the outstanding overtime payment to the employees of the bank. This came about as a result of the Minimum Wage legislation enacted in St Vincent and the Grenadines and this legislation was enacted sometime in 2008…” Bonadie said yesterday.
Under the legislation, workers were mandated to work eight hours per day with one of those hours being for lunch.
However, Scotia Bank workers were working nine hours daily, inclusive of the one-hour lunch period. This means that that as far back as 2008, employees of the institution are owed at least one hour of overtime per day.
“So we demanded that the bank pay the difference. We initially wanted them to pay from 2008. However, there’s the law. We sought some assistance from the attorney general in relation to the applicability of the law going back to 2008 and the attorney general provided us with that information and the bank wanted to invoke what they call the limitation clause and the union eventually settled for the limitation clause which meant that you could only go back six years from the time,” the trade unionist said.
As a result, workers will receive outstanding overtime payments from August 2013 to August 2019, when the new agreement was signed to enact the regular eight-hours per-day schedule for the bank.
Bonadie said that workers who were employed during that period, but have since retired, will also be entitled to receive overtime monies.
“The bank will make the necessary adjustments and so on to comply with the regulations and they agreed that the workers will receive their money on Friday…because they have to do all their calculations…but Friday, they will receive that money,” he said.
Bonadie also said that this was the final outstanding matter with Scotia Bank before it transfers ownership to Republic Bank. And it is expected that Republic Bank will officially assume operations here in St Vincent and the Grenadines by the end of October.