“What we are seeing is a sorry state of affairs in industrial relations at the RBC where permanent workers with years experience are being retrenched and the company is issuing fixedterm contracts for two months where, at the end of this two months, the workers again finds themselves under the gun as to whether or not their contracts will be renewed. This is a case of exploitation where you replace whips and chains with contracts.” Cabrera said despite receiving accreditation from the Registration, Recognition and Certification Board (RRCB) earlier this year, RBC continues to undermine BIGWU’s authority as a matter has been lodged with the High Court to review the board’s certification and accused management of holding their workers to ransom.
“After 45 years where the RRCB’s right to issue a recognition certificate was a normal feature of industrial relations in this jurisdiction, RBC has initiated litigation against the board in the form an application to the High Court seeking a judicial review of the decision by the RRCB to give us a certificate. They (the RBC) are once again using their deep pockets to block the protection of the workers, in essence they are using the High Court as a shield to prevent the Union from reaching the workers and continue their exploitative practices.” Cabrera also called on government to intervene in the matter citing the collapse of manufacturing giant, ArcellorMittal last year in which more than 600 workers were retrenched.
“I am calling on the state to amend the Industrial Relations Act and avoid a repeat of what we saw with ArcelorMittal last year.
The state has a responsibility to ensure that it’s local workers are not being exploited by foreign entities. I would also like to add that the day is soon approaching where the union may have to shut down the bank if it continues to disregard it’s authority.” Asked if he was concerned that such action would do more harm than good for workers, Cabrera said the move was necessary because of RBC’s refusal to observe protocol and said he was prepared to do whatever it takes to ensure the protection of workers’ rights.