Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Boycott the Royal Bank - Part 2

Shorter Gord Nixon : Look, they're not your jobs, they're our jobs, and if we choose to move our jobs offshore to another company without you because it's cheaper, that's just business. Besides, only one of the 13 dudes we brought in to RBC came under iGATE's temporary foreign worker application - the rest of them are house guests.

About that one iGATE dude : G&M
The federal government is investigating Royal Bank of Canada’s move to outsource technology jobs and reviewing paperwork submitted by its contractor to bring in temporary foreign workers. The probe centres on what the government sees as “apparent discrepancies” regarding RBC’s explanation of the events.
RBC came under fire on the weekend after allegations emerged that Canada’s largest bank contracted iGate Corp. to handle the outsourcing of certain technology jobs, and the firm was using temporary foreign workers to displace RBC technology staff. The bank denied those claims, and said it does not get involved in the hiring practices of the companies it hires.
“An investigation is under way and Human Resources and Skills Development Canada 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,” said Alyson Queen, a spokeswoman for Human Resources Minister Diane Finley. 
Meanwhile when CBC interviewed Diane Finley's parlsec Kellie Leitch about the bankster issue, Leitch went on and on and on about "very critical labour shortages in Canada". Way to entirely miss the effing point, Kellie. These people had jobs.

But it's not just RBC of course. Two minutes of statements from employees replaced by foreign workers at TD Canada Trust, Scotiabank, and RBC :

Yesterday CBC Go Public reporter Kathy Tomlinson, who broke the RBC offshoring in-and outsourcing jobs story, was on CBC BC Early Edition. She said she also heard the same stories from terminated employees at Bank of Montreal and CIBC. Excerpted transcript :
I'm getting emails from people who are management, that are high in this and who know how it works. It seems to me that the banks essentially have a template and these outsourcing companies have a template too - they know exactly how to present their case for bringing these workers in, and remember it's the outsourcing company that actually brings the workers in. They're the one that apply to the government for permission and they're the ones that get these workers the visas., right? 
But of course the banks are involved - they're a partnership. So it looks to me from what I'm hearing that there's a template that they've developed that's approved by the government." 
Anna Maria Tremonti's show today took on the larger issue of global outsourcing: 
The insourced foreign workers go home to do the work from their own countries where they are paid 50% of what the Canadians they replaced made.
We have had foreign temporary workers for over 40 years but since 2006 there's been an explosion of low skill temporary foreign workers who can stay here for up to four years and be paid 15% less. Not just low skill workers, this has now evolved to include engineers.
Armine Yalnizyan from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
" Importing people to learn the skills so they can take the skills out - what kind of public policy is that? The Economic McAction Plan."
Alberta Federation of Labour, today, on guest worker permits provided by Human Resources and Skills Development Canada :
Between April 25 and December 18, 2012, more than 2,400 Accelerated Labour Market Opinion or ALMO guest-worker permits – which are supposed to be reserved for highly-skilled employment – have been granted to fast-food restaurants, convenience stores and gas stations. McDonalds, Tim Hortons, A&W, Subway Sandwiches. Are we supposed to believe that these are ‘high-skill’ employment opportunities? 
More than 54 per cent (2,640) of the ALMO approvals in the country were for Alberta-based employers.  ...  The list of businesses in Alberta who received ALMO approvals included 33 A&W restaurants. 
The ALMO stream, introduced in last year’s omnibus budget bill, is proving to be the latest evidence that the temporary foreign worker program is part of a low-wage agenda on the part of radical Tea-Party Tories.
How are young people supposed to compete for temporary low skill jobs to get the education they need in order to finally not be able to get the IT jobs they trained for because they've all gone offshore? Because the real news here is that good education and a relevant skill level is no longer enough to keep you off the unemployment line. 
Armine Yalnizan is right - this is terrible public policy on the government's part.

And finally, the Cons fundraiser/voter contact company, Xentel/RMG/iMarketing Solutions Groupannounced yesterday that it is laying off its call centre workers. (h/t Holly Stick)
Will they be outsourcing those jobs offshore? I ask because the Conservative Party of Canada is currently trolling Creekside reading all the posts on Royal Bank and iMarketing Solutions/RMG.


Lorne said...

Thank you so much for this comprehensive roundup!

Beijing York said...

I wouldn't be surprised if Xentel/RMG/iMarketing solutions was offshoring their call centres. Not only will they cut their labour wages overheads by some 50% but it would be incredibly easy to stymie any investigations into robocall shenanigans. And weren't some of those election harassment calls traced back to call centres in N. Dakota or Wisconsin. I know the latter is one of those notorious union-busting states.

Alison said...

Lorne : You're most welcome. Liked your toons.

BY : To Canada from North Dakota.

double nickel said...

Kellie Leitch is a trained MD is she not? A highly educated person. How is it possible for her to spew Harperblather all day long? Seriously?

Anonymous said...

There are hundreds of thousands of bank employees in Canada - why have they never formed a union?

West End Bob said...

So it looks to me from what I'm hearing that there's a template that they've developed that's approved by the government.

It looks like yet another blot on the TeflonTories.

Anyone think it will stick this time?

Yeah, me neither, unfortunately . . . .

Boris said...

My major bank, which partly funding my two degrees, owns me for too many pennies relative to my income to move entirely to my CU. For the life of me, I cannot find work in this country that isn't very short-term contract, casual, or some other form of cost-saving fuck-the-worker.

This will die down and the rot will continue.

Boris said...

I suppose the other thing I could say would be to ask how many of those folks cheering the riot cops everytime there's a G20, are now crying bloody outrage?

Alison said...

Probably quite a few.
C'mon, Boris, if this is to be any kind of go at all, it'll have to spark somewhere close to our smug little homes.
Sure the outrage should have started with what our own outsourcers are doing elsewhere in the world, and with the fruitpickers and nannies and miners here but most people don't know any fruitpickers or nannies or miners. What they can identify with is their bank teller so that's their entry level for outrage re outsourcing and destroying the domestic economy. If it makes any of them doubt their security under Con policies, then that's a start.

bcwaterboy said...

Interesting that MP's are out there this week trying to distance themselves from the caught-with-pants-down RBC (from Okanagan MP Dan Albas): " The challenge expressed by many employers is that either they are unable to find qualified workers with the required skills, or frequently in the case of the agricultural and hospitality sectors it is hard to find workers who will accept the positions offered." Complete and utter hogwash when many of Canada's largest franchising chains are using the program to gut out wages and benefits.

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Boris said...

Of course you're right Alison. I was feeling curmudgeonly as this echoes some recent experiences.

West End Bob said...

Boris = Curmudgeon


Can't make those two images into one.


;-) . . . .

Frank Bedek said...

I thought some of the cautions that we shouldn't refer to the non-Canadians as "foreign" workers was missplaced. I thought it was understood that most of the people complaining about this bankers' greed and heartlessness were simply being factual when stating the "foreign" aspect of the workers and were not criticizing them for being "foreign."

Then I read this bit of puke:

" It's only a matter of time, all banks will be infested with East Indians."

Fuck-off you racist piece of shit.

Anonymous said...

There was something that interested me about the Alberta Federation of Labour list.

If you scroll down to page 34, you will see Little Einsteins Daycare at St. Albert. That daycare is owned by the former publisher of Report Magazine. Remember Report Magazine? It was funded up the waaaaazzoo by Heritage Canada under Harper. In a 2009 press release (http://www.pch.gc.ca/eng/1294862439296/1294862439299) the publisher gushed his thanks for a 27,000 dollar grant: "Not only does this help promote Canadian heritage, it also helps keep employment in Canada." But sometime in the following year or so Report Magazine folded into the ether without so much as an online archive.

The publisher surfaced in the news last year - (http://www.stalbertgazette.com/article/20121009/SAG0801/310109973/nude-harper-draws-ire-of-former-councillor) when his complaint to a human rights tribunal about Margaret Sutherlands painting of nude Stephen Harper was tossed out.

So, one day youre high on the hog - developing (right wing) culture Canadians can enjoy for years to come, and worrying about keeping jobs in Canada. The next day your publication is dead in the water and nude images of the PM are inappropriate for your preschool friends.

And the NEXT day your company shows up on a list of companies that make use of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program. Just saying. Kinda rich. No?

Alison said...

J Atsimpleposie : Now there's a blast from the past. Without wandering too far into the dreaded Northern Foundation territory, I remember REPORT mag mostly because Harper had a regular column in it till 2006. It was the successor to Ted Byfield's Alberta Report, no? In one early column Harper explained the reason he would not reopen the abortion debate if elected was because it would be too divisive a subject among Alliance party members. In another, a rehash of his remarks to Civitas in 2002 or 3, he bemoaned the fact that he would have to form a caucus out of elected MPs instead of appointing his own advisors like they do in the US.
Our daycare operator here iirc was rabidly anti-choice.

Alison said...

Frank : You were right the first time round. Not a surprise to you that some people are morons though, is it ? ;-)

bcwaterboy : Yeah. Unemployment in the under 24 year olds is running at 15 to 18% and the number of foreign temporary workers admitted into Canada since the year of Our Steve 2006 has grown by 40 per cent.
Notable that many corps have outsourcing quotas to fill now.

Always pleased to see you in any mood, Boris.

Anonymous said...

Look it maybe your jobs ,but its our money and our mortgages and investment in your bank that make royal bank , and if Canadians are not good enough for your jobs as trying to save a dollar, then our money is not good enough for royal bank and there is a lot banks that will be happy to take our investments, mortgage, saving so remember royal bank it's our money. With royal bank now trying to throw the staff agency under the bus and trying to put other banks under the microscope for doing the same thing take ownership royal bank,and for other banks take notes as Canadians want a bank who hires Canadians and help economies and reinvest in the people who place there money and investment with you.

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