CBC has recently uncovered a story that is leaving Canadians outraged. RBC is firing dozens of employees in order to cut costs, and they’re going to be outsourcing those jobs to foreign workers in Canada on temporary work visas. The move has those being fired outraged, and even has Ottawa claiming they’re going to run interference and determine first, if what RBC is doing is illegal. The bank on the other hand, is defending their position by saying that they’re not hiring new people – they’re outsourcing a supplier.
Dave Moreau is one of those fired employees, and when speaking to CBC recently he said, “They are being brought in from India, and I am wondering how they got work visas. The new people are in our offices and we are training them to do our jobs. That adds insult to injury.”
He says that in his department, providing IT systems support for RBC Investor Services in Toronto, he is just one of 50 employees that was fired and is now hiring their foreign replacements. He and his colleagues will lose their jobs at the end of April.
“There are a lot of angry people,” he says. “A lot of those people are in their late 50s or early 60s. They are not quite ready for retirement yet, but it may be difficult to employ them.”
RBC will be providing severance packages to those workers that they’ve fired, but Moreau says it’s hardly enough.
“I am going to be broke. I don’t have enough money to live on. I have some RSPs. I have very little in the pension plan at RBC. I have a wife that works part time at a very low wage,” he says.
It also probably doesn’t help to know that those foreign workers aren’t going to be here for very long. Most will only stay until 2015 and then be transferred overseas, while a handful will remain in the country indefinitely.
Canadians see a problem with these hiring practices, and so does the federal government.
“The rules are very clear,” says Immigration Minister Jason Kenney. “You cannot displace Canadians to hire people from abroad.”
And that’s true. While Canada does have a Temporary Foreign Worker program that brings in foreign workers, companies typically have to first show that they’ve gone to great lengths to hire Canadian workers first and that there were none available, in order to take part of the program.
“If true, this situation is unacceptable,” agreed Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources. She says that the Temporary Foreign Worker program “was never intended as a means to bring in temporary foreign workers in order to replace already employed Canadian workers.”
She says that she will be working with Citizenship and Immigration Canada to “determine the next steps.”
But what does RBC have to say about it? Well firstly, that the move is going to cut their costs and save them money, something few probably care about at this point. But they’re also saying that they’re not hiring foreign workers to take away Canadian jobs. They’re simply outsourcing from a supplier; and that they have no control over the hiring practices of that supplier.
That’s probably little condolence to those Canadian workers that are currently training foreigners in how to do their jobs.
Zabeen Hirji, the bank’s chief human resources officer, defended the bank’s position on Sunday, when speaking with The Star.
“We are not hiring employees,” she said. “We are working with a supplier. We made a deal with our supplier…We don’t get involved in the hiring practices of our supplier.
I can certainly sympathize with the employee and I can understand that it’s a difficult situation. Change is difficult and different people react to it in different ways.”
The bank may be able to technically say that it’s only hiring a supplier, as that supplier is known as iGate, a company the bank has worked with since 2005 and is very similar to that of Manpower here in Canada.
What do you think? Did RBC cross the line? And is all the Twitter and Facebook page rage rightly deserved by the bank? (Yes, they are there) Or are people overreacting, and this is just another sign that Canada’s economy might not be great – and everyone needs to find some ways to save a few bucks?