Union “shocked” by Scotiabank’s plans to sell banks in Antigua and elsewhere

The union representing Scotiabank workers in Antigua and Barbuda will be meeting with its membership next Tuesday to discuss the ramifications of a recent decision by the financial institution to close shop in parts of the Caribbean including the twin-island state.

General Secretary of the Antigua and Barbuda Workers Union (ABWU), David Massiah, said that the decision came like a “thief in the night.”

He spoke to OBSERVER media yesterday from Jamaica where trade unions have gathered in solidarity to discuss a unified approach to another situation with Scotiabank that is unfolding in that country.

“We are going to discuss and say exactly how we are going to go forward. What it means for the employees in Antigua, we will have to discuss that going forward with the new buyers. We will be standing with our members in Antigua and our colleagues from across the entire Caribbean,” Massiah said.

The veteran trade unionist also said that they have witnessed similar situations in the past with the former Barclay’s Bank and the Royal Bank of Trinidad and Tobago (RBTT), however, those situations pale in comparison to what is taking place at Scotiabank.

“The ABWU will stand resolute to ensure that the rights of these workers are protected and safeguarded along the way. We will have a meeting to bring them up to speed on my return from Jamaica,” Massiah said.

On Tuesday, the company announced that it had entered into an agreement with a Trinidad-based leading financial group to take over its banking operations in nine “non-core markets” in the region. The company said that, subject to regulatory approvals and customary closing conditions, Republic Financial Holdings Limited (RFHL) will purchase Scotiabank’s banking operations in Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Maarten and St. Vincent and the Grenadines for US $123 million.

The bank says, the purchase price – which does not include money required to capitalise the branches post closing – includes US$25 million for the total shareholding of Scotiabank Anguilla Limited and a premium of US$98 million over net asset value for operations in the other eight countries.

There are two Scotiabank branches operating in Antigua and Barbuda.

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