© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A CaixaBank branch logo is seen next to the CaixaBank headquarters in Madrid, Spain, May 14, 2021. REUTERS / Susana Vera
By Jesús Aguado and Emma Pinedo
MADRID (Reuters) – Spain on Monday hailed banks’ efforts to reduce the number of originally planned layoffs following talks with unions and urged lenders to explore new avenues for profitability.
Comisiones Obreras, Spain’s largest financial sector union, called for a day-long strike Tuesday to protest Caixabank’s plans to cut more than 7.5,000 jobs.
Spanish Economy Minister Nadia Calvino said at a financial event in Santander (MC 🙂 that she hopes Caixabank and the unions can reach an agreement on layoffs.
“I estimate that the restructuring processes are being negotiated, in some cases an agreement has been reached and in others an agreement with the employee representatives is getting closer,” said Calvino.
However, she also said that the Spanish banking sector should not focus solely on cutting staff or branches.
“If the industry is to return to profitability (…), we need banks that develop new and profitable business areas,” said Calvino, without specifying them.
Caixabank announced in April that it plans to cut 8,291 jobs, one of the largest such layoffs in Spanish history, although it later offered to cut that number to around 7,605 to accommodate the shift in customers towards online banking .
And this month, thousands of BBVA (MC:) employees went on a one-day strike, the first fair hiatus of a national bank in 30 years, to protest the plans of Spain’s second largest bank, which started in April until 3,798 Cut jobs.
BBVA reached agreement with trade unions on a weekly basis to lay off 2,935 employees in Spain and also reduced branch closings from 530 to 480.
On Monday, BBVA chairman Carlos Torres said that activities that used to have added value and were carried out in branches “are more and more necessary because the customer interacts with the bank remotely or digitally”.
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