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RBC – Big Banks – and the out-sourcing of jobs

April 7, 2013

The Royal Bank of Canada – now RBC – which started in 1864 – and which last year had – record profits of $7.5 billion – announced yesterday that they are laying off their I.T. staff, and outsourcing all the work to India.

I suppose, the management reason being, if they made a record $7.5 billion in profits last year, why not shoot for $8 billion this year? (Imagine the Christmas bonuses they could give themselves!)

As it is, RBC CEO Gord Nixon got a nice little $2.5 million salary pay increase last year – bringing his total salary/stock option/bonus income for the year to just over $12 million. (More than 800,000 times what a frontline RBC teller makes.)

And I like that RBC made this dumping of jobs announcement on the weekend – when most of us are not paying attention.

Plus, it will give the Globe and Mail and the National Post a good day’s head start to get ready the “official business” reason for off-loading jobs to India – “for the sake of the company” they will say in tomorrow’s business sections. It will be “because of competition”, “because the other big Canadian banks are thinking of doing the same thing”, “because it will be more cost-effective.”

The government – with banking over-sight powers – has the power to stop this travesty from happening.  Already, two of Harper’s Ministers (Diane Findley-Human Resources, and Jason Kenney-Immigration) have gone public with their “shocked dismay” at RBC’s plans. (And as we all know, no minister says anything without first getting the approval of Stephen Harper.)

But this also puts Harper in a bit of a political quandary – for he is so pro-business he fairly reeks of total corporate/banking/environmental de-regulation. Yet, it would be political suicide – what with the ordination of Justin Trudeau as the new Liberal Leader about to happen next weekend – to allow this off-sourcing to happen. Because this is not just the RBC. The other big banks will immediately follow suit should RBC be allowed to move forward with this.

Harper should be astute enough to know that almost all Canadians want the big banks rolled in a bit – we all know that they have been making year-to-year record profits now for almost two decades, all the while they have cut their overall staffs by 1/3-1/2 (500,000 lost jobs), while their top salaries have exploded, with their CEO’s now all making in excess of $10,000,000 a year. We hate that the banks now like to charge us a fee for depositing our money with them, and a fee for withdrawing it from our accounts. We hate that a 0.5 cent inter-bank computer transaction costs us $1.50-$2.00 at the ATM machine. We hate that they are allowed to charge 20-30% interest on our credit cards. 

It is not long to find on the web multitudes of comments calling the big Canadian banks “parasitical”, “cock-roach-like”, “greedy”, “untouchable”, “evil”.

Now it’s Harper’s hand to play.

Let the spin-doctoring begin.


Ha! I no more than posted this and immediately discovered on today’s Yahoo News this headline: on how the big banks are facing some tough economic decisions as the economy slows – co-incidence? What did Chomsky call this? Oh right, “Manufacturing Consent”.

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