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RBC Code of Conduct a welcome step: Steelworkers 0

QMI Agency

A man walks past the Royal Bank of Canada offices in downtown Ottawa, October 31, 2011. (Chris Roussakis/QMI Agency)

A man walks past the Royal Bank of Canada offices in downtown Ottawa, October 31, 2011. (Chris Roussakis/QMI Agency)

The United Steelworkers, Canada's largest union, congratulated the Royal Bank of Canada for promising not to hire foreign workers to replace Canadians and not to outsource jobs.

RBC announced a Supplier Code of Conduct Friday, saying that "this principles-based Code sets out RBC's expectations of suppliers to ensure their behaviour aligns with RBC standards."

According a statement from the bank, its suppliers must "adhere to human rights, labour and employment standards legislation" and "not hire foreign workers from outside of Canada when performing services on behalf of RBC where a worker eligible to work in Canada is available and able to perform the service."

The announcement comes in the wake of an outsourcing controversy RBC sparked last month. The public was outraged after CBC News reported that dozens of employees at RBC were losing their jobs to temporary foreign workers.

"Public pressure and solid campaigning by the labour movement on the corporate abuse of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program has led RBC to make these changes to its supplier code," Ken Neumann, United Steelworkers' national director, said in a statement Saturday.

Added Stephen Hunt, USW's Western Canada director: "This action by RBC should be a strong message to all employers who exploit temporary foreign workers or try to use the program as a source of cheap labour. Now it's time for our federal and provincial governments to abandon their low-wage strategy and require all corporations to follow suit."

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