Union Says It Has Concerns Although Law Already Passed.
THE National Workers Union (NWU) wants to speak separately with Prime Minister Dr. Kenny Anthony and Opposition Leader Gale Rigobert about the recently enacted Banking Act, which though passed into law here is finding resistance in at least one sister island of the OECS.
Tyrone Maynard, NWU’s President General says he expects a favourable response from both Anthony and Rigobert because of his union’s concerns with certain provisions of the Act.
The NWU’s request for an audience with the island’s political heads comes less than a month after bank workers in Antigua and Barbuda staged industrial action protesting that certain aspects of the legislation are detrimental to them and called for it to be amended.
The legislation, which gives the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank sweeping powers, has been passed in the parliaments of Saint Lucia and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines without any resistance from the opposition or from workers.
It was petition sheets signed by bank employees in Antigua and Barbuda that alerted the government there that it would have a fight on its hands should it seek to passed the legislation through parliament..
The Act gives the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank powers in almost every aspect required for the setting up of a bank in the sub-region including and extending beyond the granting and denial of licenses, the examination of the books of a person carrying out banking business without a license, license fees and penalty for default, conditions for a license, the revocation of a license or anything having to do with a license.
The Act gives the Central Bank powers to engage in remedial action in respect of the supervision of banks and even in determining whether someone is fit or proper to be a director or be a significant shareholder when it comes to the corporate governance of banks and their official administration.
Bank workers in Antigua and Barbuda say that section 153 of the Act removes their rights as it relates to their priority for severance payment under the Companies Act. They also have problems with other sections of the Act.
Meanwhile the National Workers Union is to hold a one day industrial forum for workers in the financial sector. About 25 employees will be in attendance. The Banking Act is one document that will be up for discussion. Bank workers from Aruba, Curacao, St. Maarteen and Cayman Islands will also participate in the day-long event.