Severance talks being pushed
November 24, 2002
Negotiations on a severance package for employees of the Guyana National Cooperative Bank (GNCB) may be fast-tracked to allow for its timely takeover by the National Bank for Industry and Commerce (NBIC).
The talks, expected to have been completed by year end, were subject to delays as a result of extra work being undertaken with the Canadian Consortium which was one of the early bidders for the bank.
The group, RNH Investment Corporation, which entered the highest bid, later withdrew its offer. This paved the way for NBIC's $2.7B offer.
Contacted yesterday on the severance package, Head of GNCB's Staff Association, Sheldon Hazelwood, said that negotiations, set to continue next week, may be fast tracked in an effort to facilitate a timely resolution. Hazelwood was not in a position to determine the final features of the severance package neither was he privy to information about what percentage of GNCB's staff, if any, would be retained by NBIC.
Stabroek News understands that there are about 300 workers at GNCB, half of whom have in excess of ten years' service. Most of the bank's senior managers were also said to each have in excess of 20 years' banking experience.
The bulk of those operating in supervisory positions have been in the GNCB's employ for between seven and ten years.
Meanwhile, sources have indicated that most of the former GNCB staff likely to be displaced by the takeover, will be those in branches in parts of the country where NBIC already has a presence.
Among the areas where NBIC does not have a branch but GNCB does, are the towns of New Amsterdam and Corriverton in Region Six (East Berbice/Corentyne), and Vreed en Hoop, West Coast Demerara.
NBIC and GNCB both have facilities in Linden, Rose Hall and Anna Regina.
Linden, already set to suffer from a severance programme at LINMINE is likely to see GNCB closed also.
An agency in the town of Kwakwani, Berbice river in Region Ten, operated by GNCB, is not considered a viable option for NBIC due to the decline in bauxite mining there.
NBIC by virtue of the takeover will easily expand its position as the country's largest bank with a market share of around 48 per cent.