Catalunya Banc and unions reach a pre-agreement to reduce the mass lay-off from 2,450 to 2,153 workers
The Barcelona-based nationalised Catalunya Banc has reached a first deal with unions on the announced mass lay-off. The deal includes voluntary redundancies instead of early retirements, and the possibility for 401 workers over 50 years old to leave the company. The agreement was reached in the early hours of Wednesday morning, after a long day of talks on Tuesday. Catalunya Banc runs the banking business of the nationalised savings bank CatalunyaCaixa, which will be sold in the coming months after a comprehensive restructuring process. Talks are still ongoing in order to close a definitive deal and the definitive agreement has now to be ratified by the bank’s Board.
Barcelona (ACN).- The managers of Barcelona-based nationalised Catalunya Banc and the unions have reached a first deal on the announced mass lay-off, which reduces the initial number of 2,450 affected workers to 2,153 people. The deal includes voluntary redundancies instead of early retirements, so younger workers can also benefit from this alternative. In addition, the deal foresees the possibility of having 401 workers over 50 years old leaving the company. The agreement was reached in the early hours of Wednesday morning, after a 24-hour meeting. In fact, on Wednesday the consultation period was due to expire. The agreement has now to be ratified by the bank’s Board. Catalunya Banc runs the banking business of the nationalised savings bank CatalunyaCaixa, which is owned by the Fund for Orderly Bank Restructuring (FROB). The bank’s sale process has been delayed while they pursue a comprehensive restructuring process. If all the voluntary redundancies and other foreseen measures are eventually adopted, the final number of employees being laid-off would be limited to 1,103 people.
The representative of the General Workers Union (UGT), Susagna Muns, stated that the conditions laid down in the early agreement with Catalunya Banc’s management “are very similar” to the restructuring conditions of the other entities nationalised by the Spanish Government, such as Bankia and Novacaixa Galicia. Muns stressed several aspects of the agreement, such as the accompanying measures which allow for reductions in working time. This should enable more jobs to be saved.
In addition, both parties have agreed on allowing workers to ask for redundancy with compensation. After 3 years, the workers would be allowed to come back or receive compensation if they cannot take their job back. In the end only 5% of the total staff (120 workers) will be obliged to accept a geographical relocation within a 50 km distance.
The Worker Commissions Union (CCOO) highlighted the fact that people choosing voluntary redundancy will receive compensation of 30 working days pay per year in the company, with a limit of 22 months. This way they will receive incentives for the voluntary nature of the lay-off and for the years worked. In addition, a maximum of 975 people will be able to reduce their working time by 25% or 50%.
A “shared effort”
Catalunya Banc issued a press release on Wednesday morning confirming the deal with all the legal representatives of the entire staff, in order to carry on with the mass lay-off announced weeks ago. The agreement has now to be ratified by the bank’s Board. According to the company, this “shared effort” has allowed the parties to reach a deal with better conditions than those initially foreseen. Catalunya Banc proposed measures that take into account the sale of the real estate division, the sale of branches, outsourcing services, and other staff-related measures. If all the voluntary redundancies and other foreseen measures are eventually adopted, the final number of employees being laid-off would be limited to 1,103 people.