RBC scrambles to explain hiring practices after contentious report - Macleans.ca
 

RBC scrambles to explain hiring practices after contentious report

Bank moves to clarify hiring strategies in response to outcry


 

TORONTO – The Royal Bank of Canada was scrambling to explain its hiring practices to customers Sunday after a media report claiming the bank was employing foreign workers to replace Canadian staff prompted a flood of outrage.

Canada’s largest bank said it has not hired foreign workers to take over the job functions of current employees, but said it uses external suppliers as one of its strategies to improve “operational effectiveness.”

Zabeen Hirji, chief human resources officer, said the company is working to find suitable roles for 45 Toronto employees whose jobs are being outsourced.

“RBC is not hiring new employees that are temporary foreign workers to do that work,” she said in a phone interview, noting that those who will take on the work “are going to be the supplier’s employees.”

RBC said it planned to discuss the situation with government officials.

That wasn’t enough to placate a number of Canadians who took to the Internet to express their anger at what many called unfair hiring practices. RBC was trending on Twitter in Canada Sunday afternoon.

“Bad move @RBC I’ve been thinking about switching, thanks for making decision easy for me,” tweeted one man.

“What is wrong with you @RBC_Canada,” tweeted another. “Making Canadians lose their jobs … I will switch banks, if not corrected.”

The bank’s move to clarify its hiring strategies came after a CBC News report that quoted a Toronto employee working in IT systems support for RBC Investor Services who said he and dozens of others were losing their jobs to temporary foreign workers.

Dave Moreau told the public broadcaster that he and others are being made to train the new workers who will be taking their jobs.

CBC said the foreign workers are employed by iGate Corp, a multinational outsourcing firm. The company’s website says it has offices that provide services for RBC in India.

The company’s website also indicates it provides services for TD Bank and Pratt and Whitney Canada among other international clients.

Human Resources Minister Diane Finley issued a statement saying the RBC situation is unacceptable if it is true.

RBC responded by saying it requires all its external suppliers to follow applicable hiring regulations in Canada.

“RBC agreements with suppliers, including in this case iGATE, requires them to ensure that they are abiding by the applicable laws and regulations,” Greg Grice, RBC’s head of Enterprise Services and chief procurement officer said in a statement.

“External suppliers allow us to leverage their scale and technical skills to continually improve our operational processes and service, and re-invest in initiatives that enhance the client experience.”

The bank added that it recognized the impact such an arrangement had on its employees.

Hirji said the bank is “continuing to work with our employees to help them retrain, redeploy and go through that process” so they can transition to other positions.

Some Canadians called for a boycott of RBC on Sunday.

One blogger urged offended customers to transfer their business to other institutions. Some commenting on blogger Norm Farrell’s post said they planned to cancel their accounts.

On Facebook, a “Boycott Royal Bank of Canada” group — which received 350 “likes” by mid Sunday afternoon —called on customers to voice their discontent by writing to the prime minister and his cabinet.

“The temporary foreign worker thing I think is really designed to help out big corporations. They’re stealing jobs from us and attempting to lower the average wage in Canada,” said Jennifer Ridge, a student at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ont., who was one of the people co-ordinating the Facebook group.

Ridge said she planned to close her RBC account in the near future.

The prospect of a boycott didn’t seem to shake Hirji, who said she believed the public’s opinion would change once it became clear the bank wasn’t hiring temporary foreign workers.

“I think what people want to see is how are we working with the employees that are being affected,” she said.

When asked about the government’s response to the RBC report, Immigration Minister Jason Kenney’s office referred questions to Finley’s office.

Finley said her department would be working with Citizenship and Immigration Canada to determine next steps regarding the claims against RBC.

“We have recently learned of allegations that RBC could be replacing Canadian workers by contracting with iGate, which is filling some of the roles with temporary foreign workers. If true, this situation is unacceptable,” Finley said in her statement.

“Canada is experiencing significant skills and labour shortages in many regions. When there are jobs available, Canadians must always be the first in line for opportunities from employers who are hiring.”

Meanwhile, the United Steel Workers, which was among those voicing its disapproval of RBC, said the entire temporary foreign worker program and the government’s handling of it, needed to change.

“They have to re-look at this entire program and do it right. No one’s opposed to workers coming to this country, but not the way they’re doing it, not the way they’re treating people,” said USW National Director Ken Neuman.

“If you’re going to bring workers to this country, if they’re good enough to work here, our position is they should also be able to transition and become permanent residents.”

The USW added that it was ready to assist RBC workers and represent them in legal matters as needed.

In 2012, there were more than 213,000 foreign workers in Canada, compared with over 160,000 immigrants who arrived under the federal skilled worker program.

The rapid growth of the temporary foreign worker program has raised concerns that Canadian companies are filling job vacancies with cheaper workers from overseas rather than actively finding Canadians to fill the jobs.

Much of the government’s latest budget, released in March, focused on reversing that trend, with millions being allocated for training and job creation programs.

At the same time, the government is continuing to overhaul the temporary foreign worker program.

The changes were prompted in part by a continuing controversy in B.C. surrounding a mining firm allowed to bring in foreign labour after insisting that a requirement to speak Mandarin meant it couldn’t find Canadians to fill their jobs.

The budget said that’s no longer going to be an excuse and also said employers will have to advertise longer and farther to find Canadians to fill jobs before looking overseas.

In late February, RBC reported a first-quarter profit of $2.07 billion, or $1.36 per share, up from $1.86 billion, or $1.23 a share, a year ago.

Its revenue grew to $7.91 billion, from $7.57 billion a year earlier.

Here’s how the story played out on social media:

#RBC’s foreign workers hiring uproar

Storified by Maclean’s Magazine· Sun, Apr 07 2013 18:46:43

The Royal Bank of Canada’s PR team will likely be working overtime this coming week after a CBC report said the bank would be replacing some of their Canadian staff with foreign workers. Through the company iGate, who bring in a workforce via the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, RBC is reportedly outsourcing 45 jobs of Toronto employees. Needless to say, many Canadians—especially those with RBC bank accounts—were upset.
Is this even legal? RBC replaces Canadian staff with foreign workers cbc.sh/21Hqa1PMargaret E. Atwood
So RBC is doing this cbc.ca/news/canada/br… while simultaneously doing this: business.financialpost.com/2013/02/04/rbc… Nice.Dan Gardner
Think of the money that could be saved if RBC executives were replaced by temporary foreign workers. cbc.ca/news/canada/br…Dan Gardner
#RBC = Rewarding Bank CEO’sJennifer Falconer
Talk about bad timing for ad placement #RBC pic.twitter.com/vFFNsvsaTXRob Collins
Shocked – SHOCKED! – to learn banks care more about money than people. #RBCCraig MacBride
Man, even the RBC logo character in the bowler hat looks foreign.Douglas Hunter
Flickr
The news may lead to the exodus of at least a few customers.
@RBC FYI – I never thought I would use twitter to break up with someone…until today – say bye bye to our RRSP, RESP TFSA, all bank a/c’sCraiger Pequeño
@RBC "Money Talks" And right about now, mine’s saying "Good-bye, #RBC" #cdnpoli
#royalbank I will be calling my #RBC account manager tomorrow to arrange a time to discuss moving my #RBC accounts to another bankTheresa A-B
Good-bye @RBCChristina Decarie
Okay. #RBC responds by saying that outsourcing Canadian jobs "will save money". I need a new bank…which ones value Canadians? Bye, fatcat.fhaedra songrider
.@RBC Replacing Canadian workers with foreign workers??? You have lost this customer. Good bye & good riddance. cc @CBCNewsGrimar Security
So long, @RBCBob Dunlop
@RBC what’s the story guys? From a PR pro, I gotta tell you that silence is a #brutal strategy. Why do you deserve my business?Jordan Sinclair
The news drew a response from the government…
“You cannot displace Canadians to hire people from abroad,” said Immigration Minister Jason Kenney cbc.sh/21Hqa1P #cdnpoli #RBCCarolyn Hudson
…and RBC’s official response came via their Facebook account.
We want to address media reports and provide clarification about RBC’s use of external suppliers. RBC has not hired foreign workers to take over the job functions of current RBC employees. Like most businesses, RBC works with many suppliers to provide certain products and services in Canada and globally. Initiatives that impact our employees are always difficult but we work with them to find new roles that match their skills and the bank’s business requirements. We have released a statement here for more details <a href="http://bit.ly/ZHQihH" class="">http://bit.ly/ZHQihH</a>.
The statement went as follows:
RBC wants to address media reports and provide clarification. Contrary to allegations, RBC has not hired temporary foreign workers to take over the job functions of current RBC employees. Like most businesses, RBC works with many suppliers to provide certain products and services in Canada and globally.”RBC agreements with suppliers, including in this case iGATE, requires them to ensure that they are abiding by the applicable laws and regulations,” said Greg Grice, head of Enterprise Services and chief procurement officer. “External suppliers allow us to leverage their scale and technical skills to continually improve our operational processes and service, and re-invest in initiatives that enhance the client experience.”

Initiatives that impact our employees are always difficult. When employees are affected, we work with them to find new roles that match their skills and interests and the bank’s business requirements. In instances where this is not possible, we provide affected employees with assistance to support them in their career transition.

“We recognize the impact of this situation on our employees and we continue to remain focused on assisting our employees through this transition. We are working diligently to find suitable roles for those affected and it is our hope over the next few months to transition them to other positions,” said Zabeen Hirji, chief human resources officer, RBC. “RBC continues to create jobs in many areas of the organization and has a track record of retraining and redeploying our staff.”

I think the RBC spin doctor better start revising her own resume. RBC’s outsourcing of jobs is blowing up in their face #RBCFailinKamloops
And the RBC wasn’t without at least some support on Twitter.
Hey @RBC just saw your FB page response to media reports. Some people don’t know what they’re talking about. Stay strong! =) #staypositiveJacqueline Wong
@JJWong22 Are you supporting @RBC ‘s program of TFW’s taking Canadian jobs? Or are you saying you believe the bank over the workers?paladine
@paladine @RBC I dont think TFWs are taking Canadian jobs. I think having them is actually beneficial to us.Jacqueline Wong
@JJWong22 @paladine @RBC beneficial??? how??? lower fees??? NO. Efficient customer service? NO….enhancing Canadian Economy??? NO..fridayfridayfriday
@gandhiwannabe @paladine @RBC yes, yes and yes lolJacqueline Wong
@paladine @RBC you honestly can’t believe everything that is presented on the media is 100% true, can you?Jacqueline Wong
@JJWong22 @raybilodeau @rbc @rbc4students Well – this looks like you’re striving to be an employee. Whatever – good luck.Stella
@Mira458 @RayBilodeau @RBC @RBC4Students yes, I am striving to be an employee cause they do give jobs to Canadians as well. Thank you! :)Jacqueline Wong
However you feel about RBC and their hiring practices, this story is sure to be a talking point for when the bank opens on Monday.
This will be an interesting story to follow and see how it shakes out #RBC #Foreignworkers bit.ly/Y7CMJDDes Nwaerondu
No matter how bad your day was, it probably didn’t come close to @RBC PR/ Social Media team’s day & upcoming week #silverliningLori Franze


 
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RBC scrambles to explain hiring practices after contentious report

  1. This is pretty ridiculous, on the same day the Harper government decided Chinese workers were ok in BC, this happens. No wonder Canadians are unemployed.

  2. IGATE, Wipro, Infosys & TCS bring people without the experience
    & fake resume. They pay low salary & work efficiency is low

    • The outsourcing company charges between USD25-30/hr. While it may seem cheap, any variation in jobs will cost the client lots of money. That’s why after some time, the clients decide to do more work in house.

  3. RBC’s response is almost more infuriating than the behaviour that prompted the acrimony
    in the first place! What astonishing Hubris. It matters not 1 iota to me if the replacement
    workers are employed by iGate or anybody else. The issue is that Canadian workers
    are being replaced. That is paramount. Come on RBC! If you think we are that stupid
    you don’t deserve to be based in Canada. Pick up your Goddamn Chips and F#^k Off!

  4. ….. after insisting that a requirement to speak Mandarin meant it couldn’t find Canadians to fill their jobs…….

    Obviously, French or English speakers are unfit to mine coal.

  5. This has been going on for TWO to THREE YEARS!!!!(it has only now come to light because the higher paid I.T. people are complaining). i know. my girlfriend works in RBC business banking here in Toronto for many years. people going back and forth to India (iGate) training them and the like. functions that use to be done here in Toronto are no longer done in Canada but overseas. it would be absolutely ridiculous to suggest that Canadian jobs are not going overseas. they hide it through attrition and laying off the temp agency (Kelly) people that they swell their ranks with. full time or temps losing their jobs is still jobs going overseas. :)

  6. Stick to credit unions. They’re local and you own a piece, and the service is usually better. Why would anyone want a bank instead?

    • I switched to credit union decades ago, and have never had reason to regret it. Chartered banks send their profits to head office quarterly, but C.U. money is invested locally. To help my town!

      • I do too! Banks are scams.

  7. This is crap. Stop outsourcing Canadian jobs!

  8. Yanno, If you think the actual hiring / firing practices at RBC are dispicible, have a listen to their feeble attempts at “spin” … http://www.cbc.ca/player/News/ID/2373110555/

    Her insistance to re-package the truth (and confuse the listener) only served to make RBC sound more underhanded than they already do. Why not just own it? At least you wouldn’t have the label of “nefarious liars” on top of everything else.

    I’m even more infuriated than I already was because all that attempt at damage control did was make things 100 times worse. Canadians aren’t idiots — we know when we’re being fed a line — and as the reporter stated, “we’re not buying what you’re selling.”

  9. These banks were also the very ones who complained about competition hurting them in the 1990s when ING was knocking at the banks doorstep. The made it difficult for foreign banks to compete here, accusing them of having no patriotic interest in Canada. If RBC wants to be unCanadian, then bring in the foreign banks and real competition, since foreign banks and RBC do not have Canadian interests at heart anyway. RBC can become a patriotic Canadian citizen or get out of town.

  10. Big business must realize it can’t make profits on the backs of those who can’t afford their products and services. Henry Ford understood this concept, applied it and still got rich.

  11. This is a disgusting practice and Canadians should be outraged. No surprise that Ms. Hirji, RBC’s Chief Human Resources Officer, serves as Co-Chair
    of the Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council. Time for Canadians to stand up and prevent the dismantling of our nation.

    • Really so she is Co chair of immigration employment, sounds as if she is Indian background as well so can that explain her prefrence in hiring? our country is definitely being trashed by out of control immigration and foreign worker policy. McGuinty’s $10,000.00 bonus for hiring recent immigrants in Ontario is another example, I have been laided off for over a year now no luck, When are we going to wake up and do something about this since all parties support it your vote at federal or provincial level is a complete waste of time and is there another bank thats not pulling this off as my wife was forced into early retirement at CIBC and replaced with contract workers she was forced to train them and to add insult to injury when looking for a job at EI after was told McGuinty government had a hire a recent immigrant first policy which she being here 25 years was not eligible! So even older immigrants are SOL just like me who is born here!!! Our young people can’t find jobs other than temp or contract work and instead
      of getting apprenticeships are replaced with foreign workers! Only in Canada pity.

      • It’s not a race issue. Immigrants contribute to the economy and pay taxes like everyone else. This issue is about unethical practices, deceit, exploiting loopholes and unadulterated corporate greed.

        • Sorry but these are NOT even immigrants they are foreign workers who will eventually be offshored to India so just how do you figure that will contribute to the economy huh? Will 47 IT workers on EI help Canada’s economy? I think not!!! It will save RBC money however so I agree with you on unethical practices however, But before we flood the country with foreign temp or offshore workers and immigrants how about taking care of Canadians first or is that racist?

  12. Canada is a traitor country to its own people! Companies and ALL governments like Harper’s , McGuinty’s etc. tax us to death, prefer foreigners to us and now take our jobs away like B.C. Chinese mining firm and now our banks, wake up Canada you are being taken for a multicult immigrant and foreign worker ride at your expense! Canada hates Canadians the facts speak for themselves!

  13. Run don’t walk get your money out of that truly UnCanadian bank!!! We as Canadians can
    no longer be complacent. Boycott The RBC!!! If we allow this to happen the future of our workforce will be in serious jeopardy. It’s time to stand up Canada and Shout ” We’re Mad As Hell And We’re Not Going To Take It Anymore”!!!!!!! This level of greed and corporate
    arrogance can no longer be tolerated!! “To Big To Fail” my ass….If you’re truly Canadian take your money and Runnnnnnnn!!!!

  14. Ms. Hirji was named Corporate Executive of the Year by the Indo-Canada Chamber of Commerce in 2010. Their mission is Promoting the business, professional, and general
    well-being of Indo-Canadians. How about Ms. Hirji promoting the well-being of all Canadians? Discrimination against non indo-Canadians is unacceptable for the Chief Human Resources Officer of RBC, and displacing Canadian workers with temporary foreign workers is destructive to Canadian society.

  15. If RBC was “merely following the law” it was a law put into place by the Harper government. They are as much to blame as the bank.

  16. This has Been Royal Banks Practice for years. Royal Bank is All about the profits end of story. They out source to make money. They do not care about staff, its profits plain and simple. The Only reason They “Care” about customers is they need them to make the $$$ They are Masters of “Spin”, They have been at it for years. Was Thinking of leaving anyway

  17. Leave these leeches behind and join a credit union. Better service, better rates and little or no fees

  18. Hey Ontario, Now you know how it feels as we did when the RBC Headquarters was “outsourced” from Halifax to Toronto(1980’s) ….Just sayin’. Come to think of it the same thing happened with Scotiabank…

  19. can one get a credit card with a “Credit Union”? I plan on giving up my credit card with them,
    because Shoppers Drug Mart, changed our credit cards from master card to RBC at the beginning of the year,

    • Most Credit Unions offer a Master Card.

    • Credit Union offer all the same services as the chartered bank and than some. I worked for them for years.

  20. The time has come for Canadians to show how we can bring down those large corporations, businesses, retail and the like, if we all support each other and take action by simply no longer doing business with them. Canadians are sick and tired of businesses who out source or hire non-canadians for employment. We always had the power, we need to mass take aggressive action against these businesses.

  21. Temp workers have no benefits, no contract, paid at 60%, and are a disposable labor force. Businesses will do do as they do because they are driven by the bottom line. Only legislation keeps them in check.

    A shame that only because it is starting to hit the more affluent white-collar sector, shit it hitting the fan.

    Let’s all thank the Harper government for relaxing rules/turning a blind eye about temp workers. 55,000 job losses? Ain’t nothing yet.

    • when they are sent here, their employer put crowd them (six or more) into a 2-bedroom service apartment.

      • Washing one’s hands and claiming innocence by utilizing a third party to go through legislative loopholes just emphasizes how crass this all is.

        • Yeah, the fact that they made record profits last year, then exploit a loophole and play dumb by saying it wasn’t them just sickens me. It makes it even worse.

  22. RBC is defending itself by claiming that it is hiring a supplier. So, those temporary foreign workers are not their concern. It is just pure bs. RBC could dictate that the supplier use only Canadians. But it won’t because then the cost will go up for them.
    If the foreigners had the expertise, then they won’t need to be trained by the soon to be laid-off RBC employees.

  23. A similar experience happened in Celestica in 2006. The IT department was outsourced to IBM India. We then had to train these foreigners in the remaining months we were still employed. Many decided to leave earlier and the CIO had to up the severance package to stop the early departures.

  24. RBC and other banks have been reducing their staff for many years all in the name of cost cutting to boost their bottom line. Let’s not forget about hiking of our bank fees. The official RBC’s position is a farce! If the bank’s position is to cut cost by eliminating jobs, where in God’s Green acre are they going to put the 40+ folks who are now out of a job? Also, if the ultimate goal is to outsource all of RBC IT departments, what kind of banking services are we going to get and is your money safe in your account(s)? Thanks for bringing this to the public’s attention Dave!

  25. Nothing short of a run on RBC will solve this problem. Unbelievable the lack of integrity, the surreptitious abuse of the temporary foreign workers system is unconscionable. Can’t you just see these million dollar executives sitting around the board room hatching this scheme so their personal bonuses will skyrocket. Nice job you have plotting ways to hurt people, your employees, Canadians. Say goodbye to a lot of money and bonuses and hopefully your jobs.

  26. FIRE yourself Zabeen Hirji and lets see what do you think after! I am with RBC for over 15 years. They are sooo greedy and sucks our blood for money. I closed my account with RBC today.

  27. This just confirmed why I left RBC few years ago (and last year pulled
    my investments from Royal Dominion) – profits before services; and what
    ever happened to SOCIAL CONSCIOUSNESS of RBC? We, Canadians (us all
    including immigrants) built this bank to what they are now. RBC should
    look after Canadians first because WE – CANADIANS are the ONE who PUT
    MONIES (CANADIAN HARD-EARNED) in RBC pockets!!! RBC EXECs should have a
    time-out and think who/where the Canadian money/deposits will come if
    they are rendering the Canadians jobless and poor!!!! Just THINK of that
    RBC!
    Some would argue: “What’s new? This is happening all-over!”
    Yes, it does but what RBC did is a DIRECT ASSAULT to Canadians and their
    monies AND their future.

  28. Maybe there is more to the story than what we see in the Media. However, since this is what I see and hear, I am pretty disgusted with RBC and am considering switching banks.

  29. so i gather from their response that RBC are not outsourcing jobs? they just hired a company to outsource the jobs for them? lol….fail
    I have been considering a credit union, might have to think seriously about that now

    • Yeah, then they insult our intelligence by saying they didn’t technically hire any foreign workers, when the whole reason they contracted the work to iGate is because of the cost savings from off-shoring the work.

  30. Governments have no control over banks. It’s the other way around. Politics follows the money like an addict to drugs. Imagine what their profits would be if economy was good!

  31. The saddest part is for years the white collars ignored blue collared complaints of outsourced jobs and industry.
    You start viewing people as expendable resources and it becomes easier to treat them as part of the furniture.

  32. RBC hires IGate and they outsource employees and eventually the job function & they allege no responsibity –do I get that right. Try outsourcing your Canadian bank customers -bye byeIi will be withdrawing all my accounts cancelling my credit cards unless this practice is reversed forthwith.

  33. Zabeen Hirji, chief human resources officer, said the company is working
    to find suitable roles for 45 Toronto employees whose jobs are being
    outsourced.
    ==========================================================

    If those 45 jobs can be found to free up 45 jobs for India then why can’t those 45 jobs be found to free up jobs for Canadians in Toronto?

    Today I move my accounts.

  34. Facebook site “Boycott Royal Bank”, now over 6,000 likes is warned by Facebook concerning it’s content and threatens to shut down the site! The site is getting getting reports that RBC is intimidating their IT workers all over Canada about the info that is being leaked on this page. I want everyone to know that I will protect you at all costs – even if that means going to jail. I am also deleting the conversations on the page immediately after sharing the info. Set up fake accounts – do whatever you need to – but don’t stop sharing your stories –

  35. Facebook site “Boycott Royal Bank”, now over 6,000 likes is warned by Facebook concerning it’s content and threatens to shut down the site! Site administrator states that the site is getting getting reports that RBC is intimidating their IT workers all over Canada about the info that is being leaked on this page. The site owner says ” I want everyone to know that I will protect you at all costs – even if that means going to jail. I am also deleting the conversations on the page immediately after sharing the info. Set up fake accounts – do whatever you need to – but don’t stop sharing your stories” –

  36. Is it not enough for RBC to continue to have huge profits regularly? How much more is enough to rid themselves of 45 jobs done in Canada by Canadians ? Profit is not a dirty word but come on RBC you can save that much by looking at top level wages and benefits. I am a shareholder but I am concerned you are not as Canadian as you want us to beleive. You are protected by Canadian laws, protect Canadian jobs!

  37. Rich But Cheap.

  38. No matter how RBC spins it, it is exporting Canadian jobs while making even more money. I left fee happy RBC long ago for a credit union and never looked back. Credit unions are member owned co-operatives with enviable safety records.

  39. I’m sick of watching my friends and family being laid off, downsized and essentially out of gainful employment. Where is our reserve? Are the long lived Canadians and their families that built this wonderful country the “new” native Canadians. History does repeat. Shameful how they have been treated and shameful how we are being treated. Shame on the royal bank and many others, the government we put our trust in and the Canadians that are too consumed to vote. When will we stand up together?

  40. The rapid growth of the temporary foreign worker program has raised concerns that Canadian companies are filling job vacancies with cheaper workers from overseas rather than actively finding Canadians to fill the jobs.