CIBC FirstCaribbean International Bank and its trade union partners across the region have renewed their FirstPartnership Principles Agreement, saying it can serve as a guide for other organizations across the region.
The FirstPartnership Agreement, which was first signed in 2005, provides guidelines for addressing a number of issues relating to employees within the bank’s operations across the region.
The agreement also outlines a number of “shared principles”, though which the bank and the trade unions commit to implement measureable improvements in the quality of employee relations and business performance.
It also commits the bank to having “open and honest communication” with employees and their trade union representatives and being the first to inform them about business plans and decisions through a consultative committee process.
Addressing a short signing ceremony at the Barbados Hilton Resort on Thursday to renew the agreement, General Secretary of the Antigua and Barbuda Workers’ Union David Massiah said it was the first of its kind to be developed in the region.
“It was developed by Caribbean people and we still feel very special that this is a catalyst for many other such organizations within the region to emulate, to follow, to utilize, to see how important it is for this partnership of employer, employee, unions to be working together,” he said.
“It is part of what I consider to be out of the International Labour Organization’s mantra of promoting labour and management corporation, and this partnership between FristCaribbean and the trade unions in jurisdictions that are represented here, is one that we will continue…and we do hope that others will follow. I wish that what we have done over these last 12 years, what we have been able to achieve, that we continue to build upon.”
Managing Director of Human Resources at CIBC FirstCaribbean, Neil Brennan described the process of establishing the agreement as a difficult one, while pointing out that it has so far helped the company and unions address a number of issues.
“It allows us to manage issues that we have within the bank across the region, in a very focused and easy and very amicable way. We collaborate as a group hugely on all the key matters of the organization and it makes it much easier for us to operate. So, it is a very great partnership that we are very proud of,” he said.
Brennan explained that some of the issues that the bank has been able to resolve with the trade unions, through the partnership agreement, relate to “big changes”, including restructuring and downsizing.
“Having the partnership allows us to work together to handle these issues in the most appropriate way and best way for our employees in a constructive way,” he said.
Managing Director of Retail and Business Banking, Mark St Hill said the partnership would continue to evolve over the years to benefit the bank, its employees and customers.
“Through this, we hope to continue to deliver growth for the bank. It is for the mutual benefit of our employees, our company, our shareholders and, most importantly, the clients that we serve,” he said.
Meanwhile, President of the Bahamas Financial Services Union, Theresa Mortimer said this week’s signing was a signal by the bank and the trade union of their commitment to work together to ensure industrial relations within the financial institution remain amicable.