For the first time, seven banking unions have banded together against banks’ announced restructuring plans. They have already asked the Prime Minister for an audience and are going to continue the general demonstration of the sector, the date of which is to be announced tomorrow, as Jornal Económico knows.
All Portuguese banking unions [SNQTB, MAIS Sindicato, SBN, SIB, SBC, STEC e SinTAF] they met yesterday and agreed to “express their outrage and firm opposition to the unjustified and unnecessary massive job destruction process in a crucial sector to support Portuguese companies and the national economy, as bank officials actually demonstrated when
the pandemic was at its most dangerous and severe stage. “
Trade unions are now demanding a number of measures, such as “an immediate suspension of programs to lay off workers; and replacing termination of agreement with mutual agreement for early reforms and special attention in situations of social vulnerability ”.
Unions are demanding that “all retraining opportunities be considered, as bank workers have always demonstrated a complete ability to adapt to one of the most advanced banking sectors in Europe.”
They also ask that “all activities carried out in outsourcing or temporary work mode be carried out by bank employees”.
Trade unions have asked the Prime Minister for a hearing to present “this package of measures and call for awareness of the continuous and accelerating destruction of the middle class, which directly affects more than 60,000 bank employees and their families, leading to a clear deterioration in the situation.” social conditions and the growth of poverty in our country ”.
Moreover, they decided to hold “a demonstration, a date to be announced soon, of all bank employees to convey a message of indignation to financial and government institutions to make it clear that we are ready to defend our work and fight for our rights to the last consequences “.
In a statement, unions remind that “banking workers are currently facing several massive and unprecedented job layoffs, and the constitutional right to job security is under attack as intensely as unthinkable.”
In this context, “some banks have instituted restructuring processes under the guise of opposing thousands of bank employees with proposals for retirement by mutual agreement (RMA) or early retirement with a particular focus on RMAs.”
Trade unions state that “in response to this situation, early notification of the implementation of unilateral measures, that is, collective layoffs, with a specific announced deadline contrary to what is stipulated by labor laws, has also been popularized, creating (or seeking to create) panic and widespread fear among banking employees, so that they stop fighting for their rights. “
Santander and BCP have announced restructuring plans with staff leaving. Santander has 685 employees and BCP has just over 800 people.
Banco Montepio was the first to announce an “expanded plan” to lay off 800 employees and “the status of a company in the process of restructuring was granted to Caixa Económica – Montepio Geral until September 2023 and up to 400 people. after analysis by the Social Security Institute and IAPMEI, and in consultation with social partners and the Portuguese Banking Association. “
The company said this year that the restructuring of Banco Montepio is ongoing, with almost 250 employees leaving in 2020, while more than three dozen branches have also been closed.
Bankers’ unions champion the fact that the Portuguese banking sector, which has one of the best performing in Europe, “with this massive job cuts, namely a 15% to 25% cut
workforce and the closure of more than 15% of the branch network contributes to the phasing out of some activities in Portugal and an increase in installed capacity to support the population and companies. “
In a statement, they state that “the current situation is very unfortunate due to the fact that there are threats
collective dismissal and putting pressure on employees in order to make a decision in a short time. The situation is aggravated by the fact that these processes occur during the period of regular vacations and the apparent resumption of the Covid-19 pandemic. ” They also warn that “at the same time for workers and retirees, the banks, now returning to profit, are proposing a collective bargaining freeze on the wage and pension scale.”