RBC employee asked to train replacement before layoff
Published Tuesday, April 9, 2013 5:37PM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, April 9, 2013 6:49PM EDT
Royal Bank of Canada personnel were in “shock" and "disbelief” when they were informed at a meeting in February that they would be replaced by outsourced workers, an RBC employee says.
Speaking to CTVNews.ca on condition of anonymity, the employee said she was stunned when she and her colleagues were told that they would be given a 90-day working notification, and that they had to start training the incoming foreign workers – their replacements.
“We had to now train them to do our jobs,” the employee said.
“That was a Tuesday, and by the Friday or Thursday, they were in the office with us, sitting essentially side-by-side, and setting up meetings for hours to start knowledge transfer,” she said.
The woman is one of 45 of RBC’s employees in Toronto who are losing their jobs next month after the bank contracted a number of technological services to iGate which brought in its own employees. The California-based firm specializes in sending jobs offshore.
Now, as Ottawa begins to probe possible contraventions to federal rules over the outsourced jobs, Canada’s largest bank is facing growing backlash over the matter.
Since reports emerged over the weekend that the layoffs would be coming down next month, the bank has been “scrambling” to redeploy workers into other positions within the bank, said the RBC employee.
“They have been silent up until Friday.”
RBC Chief Executive Officer Gord Nixon said Monday the bank has identified other positions within the company and is actively trying to move displaced staff into other roles.
“We’ve assured these 45 employees that we will do everything, and we’re quite confident that we will find other opportunities within RBC,” Nixon told CTV News.
The employee described her work environment since the layoff announcement as “stressful.”
“There was so much emotion going on, so much emotion of betrayal, shock, disbelief that it could actually happen,” the employee said. “These are systems that run very successfully.
“We’re all still here, but there’s a lot of bitterness.”
Meanwhile, outraged members of the public are taking to social media calling for a boycott of the bank.
A Facebook group called “Boycott Royal Bank of Canada” has been flooded with comments.
“I will be back in Canada on 22 April. The first thing I will do is close all my RBC accounts,” said one Facebook user. “I can't even express my rage at RBC.”
Another user writes: “Canada will not be bought for any price! We are being sold out right under our noses!”
The RBC employee said those affected are grateful for the support.
“Everybody recognizes that this is an issue on a greater scale, we are just the frontrunners of bringing it out for our industry,” she said.
Alyson Queen, a spokesperson for Human Resources Minister Diane Finley, said Monday application documents submitted by iGate are now being reviewed based on "apparent discrepancies" between RBC's public statement and information previously given to the government.
"HRSDC officials are currently reviewing the labour market opinions submitted by iGate in great detail, based on apparent discrepancies between RBC's public statement and information which has previously been provided to the government," Queen told The Canadian Press.
In order to obtain permits for temporary foreign workers, companies must show that a qualified Canadian cannot be found to perform the work.
Nixon said there are 21 workers involved in the “transition team,” in the department in question.
Six are Canadian employees, and 13 “are here from various offices to manage the transition process, most of whom will be leaving at the end of the month,” Nixon said.
There is one temporary foreign worker involved, and while it’s unclear his status, Nixon said RBC has been assured by iGate that all of their employees comply with Canadian rules and regulations.
Jason Trussell, iGate senior vice president and regional head of iGate Canada, told The Canadian Press Tuesday that the company will “fully co-operate” with Ottawa’s investigation.
“iGate’s hiring practices are in full compliance with all Canadian laws,” he said.
Meanwhile, the employee says the only way she believes the decision to outsource their jobs will be reversed is if the government imposes restrictions on the bank.
“That’s not up to us. The jobs that we want are the jobs that we have,” she said.
“We didn’t ask for this.”
With files from Karolyn Coorsh