ERE are reduced.  Pressure from the unions or the government?

It has been years since the financial sector faced such a radical confrontation process with the unions like the one experienced in recent weeks. Not even in the dramatic years of the financial crisis, between 2008 and 2018, in which an important part of the country’s banking entities disappeared – even an entire sector, that of the savings– the bank had suffered similar pressure. The staff representatives have put into practice all the means at their disposal to stop the employment regulation files (ERE) that intends to carry out several banks. But this time, the unions have had a prominent ally, the Government.

The need, as justified entities Y employers, even the Bank of Spain, to carry out such high staff adjustments, which can end with around 20,000 jobs in less than two years, and with the closure of a similar number of offices, has measured the forces of the bank against the Executive and central union.

More than 30 years have passed since a strike was not called in a financial institution and, curiously, last Wednesday a strike was carried out in a bank that had always boasted of having won social peace with its staff, BBVA.

On Wednesday the unions measured their forces with the bank and, in general, with the entire financial sector in what could be considered a warning for boaters. “Look at what we are capable of mobilizing in a large bank. Be careful, this can be extended to the entire sector, and that is not good for the entities where clients go because they trust their solidity and stability ”, it seems that was the background message of the unions.

And it is that the reputation and the image in a bank is crucial for its survival, especially when the competition is getting tougher and the new financial players arrive by and from all sides.

Unicaja does not rule out a delay of more than a month in the authorization of its merger

A few years ago, several Spanish merchants and manufacturers shouted to the sky when precisely BBVA began to give away and sell pots, pans, towels, cutlery, etc. cheaper than in a store, if you opened an account or if you deposited your savings in the bank for a certain time. Even ministers of the time, or well-known businessmen or public figures claimed their gift at the bank. The merchandise sold by BBVA came in part from China, another not. But Spanish manufacturers and merchants considered it unfair competition.

The creator of this trend in the 1990s was BBVA, but there were other banks that copied it.

Now the roles have been reversed. Banks no longer want their customers to save because it costs them money and time, while manufacturers of televisions, mobile phones, pots, pans … have found a good ally in the bank to sell their products with financing. And they can even go to other financing providers that are no longer traditional banks.

The large distributors, operators, electricity companies, have decided to join an entity to finance their sales, which means sharing the profits; or have created their own financing firms or banks, such as Orange, which has its own bank that can be opened to customers who do not have to be mobile users.

The big banks, in turn, want to be also Amazon, Facebook… All to win customers, or simply to keep them. The financial sector is in full transformation, although it has not yet found its ideal model. But one thing is clear to him. You do not need so many offices or staff for reasons of profitability, efficiency and because of the new model you intend to implement. “If we do not do so, we are condemned to die. It is a question of survival ”, proclaim those responsible for the bank.

But, as is logical, the workforce is not willing to lose their job at a stroke, as the Government now seems to be unwilling to destroy thousands and thousands of jobs that will not return, also at a stroke. The pressure that both parties are exerting may be paying off.

For now, BBVA has reduced those affected by its ERE by more than 800 employees, and has improved the initial conditions of its economic proposal to encourage exits. Although it has always happened in a labor negotiation, one party asks a lot initially and the other offers very little until an understanding occurs. But now the rope has tightened so much that it has been able to break, although in the end it has not been the case and on Tuesday the unions and the bank will foreseeably reach an agreement for the departure of just under 3,000 employees.

The resolution of the conflict at BBVA puts more pressure on CaixaBank. Although, in his case, the unions have not called a strike, at least for the moment. CaixaBank It is already marked with a cross by the Government when voting at its shareholders’ meeting against the salaries of its council, among which are that of its president, José Ignacio Goirigolzarri, and that of its CEO, Gonzalo Gortázar. The State controls 16% of its capital. Therefore, unions and the entity are expected to reach an agreement on the number of dismissals and working conditions this month. Of course, for this, the deadline for the negotiations that ends on June 10 will have to be extended.

And while, other old savings banks, Unicaja and Liberbank, are awaiting the pertinent authorizations to conclude their merger. His roadmap indicated that the process was concluded at the end of this month of June or at the beginning of July. But as happened in the case of the merger of Bankia With CaixaBank, everything indicates that the effective creation of a single entity, the new Unicaja, will be delayed by a few weeks or even a month more than the initial forecasts.

The reason: the exhaustive analysis you are carrying out Competence on the duplications and possible financial exclusions that the integration process entails. The same thing happened with CaixaBank. But it is only a matter of time, there are no underlying problems. Once the CNMC give the ok to the operation, yes, with the settings that you will set, the rest of the authorizations will be very fast.


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