Business Watch

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Class actions against banks OK'd

CLASS-ACTION lawsuits against CIBC and Scotiabank seeking hundreds of millions of dollars for unpaid overtime can go ahead, the Ontario Court of Appeal ruled in a pair of decisions Tuesday.

The suits allege thousands of workers were denied overtime pay even though they were assigned more work than could be completed within their standard hours. The cases come amid a slew of similar cases over wage and hour issues south of the border.

A lower court had denied class action status to the CIBC (TSX:CM) case, while a different court had allowed class action status in the Scotiabank lawsuit. The Appeal Court felt both cases, which have not been proven in court, should be handled the same way.

In the CIBC case, teller Dara Fresco filed a lawsuit in June 2007.

Fresco launched the case on behalf of more than 31,000 tellers and other front-line customer service employees working at more than 1,000 CIBC branches across Canada, including assistant branch managers, financial-service representatives, financial-service associates and branch ambassadors.

Cindy Fulawka, a personal banking representative at Scotiabank, filed her class-action lawsuit against the bank in December 2007 seeking to represent some 5,000 Scotiabank personal or senior bankers, financial advisers and small-business-account managers.

Rogers cutting 375 jobs

ROGERS Communications Inc. (TSX:RCI.B) will eliminate 375 jobs as the wireless, cable and Internet provider cuts costs in the face of lower profits and tougher competition on all fronts.

The staff reduction is part of a cost-cutting strategy announced earlier this year and includes employees in the business, wireless, and cable and Internet divisions. They follow 300 job cuts announced in March.

The latest downsizing covers a variety of skills and includes some management and sales positions, Rogers spokeswoman Patricia Trott said Tuesday.

"Going forward, we're managing costs where it makes sense, but we're continuing to invest in driving the business forward, and obviously we have a focus as well on driving revenue, new sources of revenue," Trott said. …