By Laura Kemp • 25 November 2021 • 16:44
Unicaja will go on strike this Friday. Source: Twitter @financial_espana
The unions have called a strike this Friday as a measure of protest after an agreement has not been reached in the successive meetings held between the representation of the workers and the management of Unicaja, which proposes the collective dismissal of more than 1,500 employees and the closure of nearly 400 offices.
Although the bank has improved the initial conditions, union spokesmen consider that they remain draconian and do not invite voluntary membership. The process began after the merger of the Malaga bank with Liberbank, an operation that makes Unicaja the fifth most important company in the Spanish banking sector.
At the moment there are only two more meetings called (December 1 and 2) before the deadline established by law to end the negotiation runs out. The accused complain that Unicaja has not reduced the number of proposed staff departures (1,513, of which 1,005 belong to the branch network and 508 to the central services.)
It also maintains the substantial modification without compensation of the working conditions in terms of geographic location, until now limited to 25 kilometres, that the bank now intends to extend up to 90 kilometres.
The compensation would be 3,000 euros for mobility between 91 and 151 kilometres and 6,000 euros if the mobility is between 152 and 300 kilometres. In cases where mobility exceeds 300 kilometres, the bank offers to provide housing assistance of 700 euros per month for one year. In case of refusal of mobility, the entity would compensate with 20 days per year worked, which is the legal minimum.
This week, the unions have offered an agreement based on the voluntary adherence of those under 55 years of age, paid leave “under attractive conditions,” 35 hours working hours a week from 8am until 3pm, conciliation measures, interest-free loans, exemption from commissions on all accounts where the worker is the owner and social benefits. The bank, union sources explain, rejected these conditions as “difficult to assume.”
The Spanish banking sector is going through one of the most eventful stages in its history, marked by mergers between entities, growing competitive pressure, the collapse of interest rates and the adaptation to digital channels.
Other firms such as Santander, CaixaBank and BBVA have started processes that lead to the departure of thousands of workers and the unions are already preparing the first protests.
In the event that there is no agreement in Unicaja Banco, the unions have already warned that they will prosecute. A mass rally and demonstration have already been organised as a measure of protest by the ERE, the first in the history of this entity.
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Originally from UK, Laura is based in Axarquia and is a writer for the Euro Weekly News covering news and features.
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