BBVA proposes an ERE for 3,798 employees and the unions point “to the path of mobilization”

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Daniel Caballero

MADRID

Updated:

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The ERE wave is underway in Spanish banking. On Tuesday it was Caixabank’s turn, with its announcement of a workforce adjustment of almost 8,300 workers, and today it was up to BBVA. The group has announced an ERE that would affect 3,798 people and the closure of 530 offices in a procedure based on productive and organizational reasons. This has been indicated by union sources aware of the contacts, after the first meeting held today by the negotiating table.

The adjustment plan would be applied specifically to the central services and the branch network of BBVA SA, which has around 23,300 employees, leaving out the rest of the entity’s companies in Spain. BBVA supports its decision in the context of profound transformation for the sector, marked by enormous competitive pressure, low interest rates, the accelerated adoption of digital channels by customers and the entry of new digital players.

The bank has reiterated on several occasions that to guarantee the viability of the bank and to be able to maintain employment in the future, it is necessary to undertake this ERE, the first in its history, since to date all the casualties had been paid individually and voluntarily, as well as with early retirement.

These almost 3,800 people represent 16.3% of the staff of the BBVA SA entity in Spain and 12.9% of the total staff in our country. By branches of affectation, the reduction of personnel in the branch network would be 21% (3,000 people) and in the central services 5% (800 people). Within the proposal to close offices, the region of Catalonia, with 204 branches, would be the most affected, followed by the Central area, Madrid and Castilla-La Mancha, with 101 branches that were to draw the blind.

Union threat

From CC.OO. have explained that BBVA’s approach leads them “On the road to mobilization”. A clear threat to the banking group since the union understands that these are figures and an “unsustainable and scandalous” exit approach. In his view, the claims of the firm are far from what the bank “wanted the staff to believe”, to add: “Behind these numbers there are people and their families, who will be left without a source of income the top management maintains and increases millionaire salaries, as we already denounced in the last general meeting of shareholders and that do not correspond to the seriousness of the situation.

The intention of the bank is that the process does not take too long, and that it be started before the end of the first semester. And that the cost of the dismissals is financed with the proceeds from the sale of the subsidiary in USA, which, as the entity announced at the general meeting, allows it to have “strategic optionality” to make decisions. In any case, a few days ago BBVA showed its “dialogue attitude” with the workers’ representatives, while affirming that they face the process “with the commitment to guide us by criteria of objectivity and with the will to reach the best possible agreement for everyone”.

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