The following statement was issued by the Grenada Technical & Allied Workers Union on the decision of CIBC First Caribbean to terminate the employment of one of its long-standing employees
On the 15th March 2013, CIBC First Caribbean terminated the employment contract of Ms. Shirlene Herbert – a worker who at the time had given 25 years of continuous service to the Bank.
The Bank cited among other reasons for the dismissal the quality of her writing skills relative to accuracy and efficiency. It is important to note that Ms. Herbert worked as a Loans Officer for approximately 13 years and there was never an issue with the quality of her work.
Prior to the dismissal, the Union was aware that Ms. Herbert was experiencing consistent harassment from the Retail Banking Manager, Mr. Billy De Roche (her immediate Supervisor) and on October 19, 2012 wrote the Bank on this matter.
Events will show that:
*On August 21st 2012, the Bank wrote to Ms. Herbert citing matters of concern with her performance and issued a final warning letter;
*On the 21st January 2013, the Union and Management of the Bank met to discuss the said letter. At that meeting, the Bank admitted that the letter was unjustifiably harsh and the matters raised were not sufficient to warrant a final warning and agreed to do a rewrite;
*On March 15th 2013, Ms. Herbert was dismissed with the Bank citing the same issues that were contained in the August 21 letter to justify its decision;
*On March 19th 2013, The Union and The Bank met to discuss Ms. Herbert’s dismissal with the Bank essentially maintaining its position;
*On March 21st 2013, the Union wrote to the Labour Commissioner requesting his intervention to conciliate on the matter;
*On March 25th 2013, the parties met before the Labour Commissioner;
*On April 11th 2013, the Labour Commissioner submitted his findings and recommendations to the parties. The Labour Commissioner found that the dismissal was not fair and recommended among other things the rescinding of the letter of March 15th 2013 “purporting to dismiss Ms. Herbert”;
*On April 18th 2013, First Caribbean responded to the Labour Commissioner expressing their disagreement with his findings and recommendations. The matter was then escalated to the Minister for Labour;
*On May 29th 2013, the parties met before the Minister for Labour;
*On June 26th 2013, the Minister submitted his findings and recommendations to the parties. The Minister found that Ms. Herbert’s dismissal was unreasonable, unjustified and unsustainable and recommended her reinstatement or the Bank pay compensation for her years of service. The amount to be agreed between the Bank and the Union.
The Union, having found favour with the recommendations of the Labour Commissioner and the Minister, has made every effort to date to bring this matter to conclusion but has found what can be described as an attitude of indifference exhibited by the Bank.
We have demonstrated patience for a long time during which the affected worker continues to be forced on the breadlines without any clear sight as to when her ordeal will end.
The Union calls upon the Bank to immediately resolve this matter.
TAWU shall use all in its powers to defend the rights of Ms. Shirlene Herbert!