iGate BPO employee issue: Royal Bank Canada CEO apologises

Infotech Lead Europe: In the iGate Canada issue, Royal Bank of Canada CEO has apologised to employees.

“I want to apologize to the employees affected by this outsourcing arrangement as we should have been more sensitive and helpful to them,” said RBC Chief Executive Gord Nixon in an Open Letter to Canadians.

In the letter, Nixon said the bank has complied with regulations and that affected employees would be offered comparable job opportunities within the bank.

RBC, Canada’s largest public company, is currently facing criticism

over the bank’s plan to outsource work to California-based iGate, which operates mainly in India.

The apology follows revelations of the bank’s relationship with US outsourcing firm iGate and a report that iGate used temporary foreign worker visas as it worked to replace a few dozen staff at the bank’s Toronto investor services division, Reuters reported.

The bank said it trusted iGate to comply with local regulations, and iGate said that its hiring practices were compliant with Canadian law. But the revelations had triggered an investigation by the Conservative Government into the use of the visas.

On Thursday, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said the purpose of the program was just to relieve acute and temporary labor shortages. With RBC’s actions raising concerns that the program was being used to replace Canadian employees with foreign workers, Harper said the government would ensure the program would not be abused.

“We are reviewing our supplier arrangements and policies with continued focus on Canadian jobs and prosperity,” he said, adding that the bank’s Canadian client call centers would remain in Canada. He said RBC employs over 57,000 in Canada. While the bank’s reputation may have taken a hit this week, its share price remained steadfast on the week, adding 3 percent over the past four sessions.

Meanwhile, the BPO major has added 750 employees in Q1 2013. The net addition of BPO employees is significant as iGate had added only 11 employees in Q4 2012. The BPO company said its employee base increased to 28,204 in the first quarter of 2013 from 27,554 in Q4 2012 and 27,543 in Q3 2012.

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