A McMaster University student at the centre of the online campaign to boycott the Royal Bank because of its outsourcing practices says an apology from the company's CEO is too little, too late.
"We have been shocked at the way RBC has been directing their PR campaign on this matter," said Jennifer Ridge, a McMaster student and administrator for the Boycott the Royal Bank facebook page. To date, the page has garnered almost 8,000 likes. As of now, she is continuing the call for a boycott.
In a letter released Thursday, Royal Bank CEO and president Gord Nixon said the company should have been "more sensitive" to workers affected by their outsourcing arrangements and promised "comparable job opportunities" within the bank.
"While we are compliant with the regulations, the debate has been about something else," Nixon wrote. "The question for many people is not about doing only what the rules require — it's about doing what employees, clients, shareholders and Canadians expect of RBC. And that's something we take very much to heart."
"Despite our best efforts, we don't always meet everyone's expectations, and when we get it wrong, you are quick to tell us. You have my assurance that I'm listening."
'The results have been stupendous for all of us here at RBC.' —Dave Moreau, RBC employee
Ridge called the letter "typical PR spin" and "boringly predictable."
"It has provided little solace to the majority of Canadians and definitely not the RBC employees that I have talked to," she said.
"Canadians are not stupid. They recognize this breach of the rules is undermining their economy in the name of excessive profits."
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.
Canadian workers 'inundated' with job interviews
But it does seem Nixon's promise to help the Canadian workers affected by the controversy is coming to fruition. Dave Moreau, one of the Canadians affected by RBC's foreign worker hirings, sent an email to CBC on Thursday saying the public firestorm has benefited him and colleagues who were facing replacement.
"The results have been stupendous for all of us here at RBC," he wrote. "Our group is now being inundated with job interviews within the company."
Earlier this week, Moreau said he applied for 14 jobs within RBC and had been told he's not suited for two of them. He was waiting to hear back about the rest.
The foreign workers who are supposed to be taking over the RBC positions in Toronto are employed by a multinational outsourcing firm from India — iGATE Corp. — which has a contract to provide IT services. There is an "RBC Offshore Development Centre" in the iGATE facility in Bangalore.
In the CBC report, RBC spokeswoman Rina Cortese said several foreign workers from iGATE will be working in the bank's Toronto offices until 2015. By then, she said, most of the work will be transferred abroad, but a few of the foreigners will remain indefinitely.