The Best of GRReporter
flag_bg flag_gr flag_gb

Boycott of employees closes Post Bank

16 January 2013 / 18:01:28  GRReporter
3488 reads

Victoria Mindova

From Friday, 11 January, the branches of Post Bank in Greece have remained closed to citizens as the employees boycotted the privatisation process of the state-owned bank. They want the government to guarantee that there will be no layoffs when the bank goes into private hands.

"We will not open Post Bank if they fire even one of us," the chief secretary George Evdoxiadis told GRReporter. Under the restructuring plan, the bank will be divided into a "good" and "bad" part following the pattern of ATEbank (Agricultural Bank). Although the privatisation of ATEbank is considered a success, Evdoxiadis is of a different opinion. "75 million euro for the Agricultural Bank was a gift to Piraeus. Even its real property was worth more," the unionist assessed and added, "We will not let that happen again with Post Bank."

The major problem of the employees of the Bank is the retaining of jobs. Two years ago, the number of employees in Post Bank was less than 2,000. Their subsequent merger with the "good" part of Laurentios Laurentiadis’ bank increased their number by more than 1,000. According to the government’s original plan for Post Bank, 500 of 3,200 employees must be dismissed.

National Bank of Greece, Eurobank, Alpha Bank and Attika Bank had submitted their offers for the purchase of the state-owned financial institution, which they withdrew in early 2013. The Ministry of Finance and the Greek Financial Stability Fund have to trigger the restructuring plan of the bank but they have not yet announced its final version.

The union of employees in the banking sector (OTOE) organised a 24-hour strike in solidarity with the protest of the employees of Post Bank and all bank branches in the country remained closed on Wednesday, 16 January. About 500 people from the sector held a meeting in front of the headquarters of Post Bank in Athens, which was attended by members of leftist political organisations. The Secretary of the Greek Communist Party (KKE) Aleka Papariga took the floor of the strikers. She supported the protest of bank employees and talked about the creation of communist capitalism, which will provide jobs, salaries and equity for all.

The meeting turned into a protest march throughout Athens, the first stop of angry bank employees being the building of the Financial Stability Fund. The discontented strikers blocked Akadimias street and requested a meeting with the head of the Fund Aristidis Tomopoulos who was not in his office at the time. The strikers said they would not leave until the management of the fund scheduled a meeting for the same day. After one hour of talks, the trade unionists obtained a face-to-face meeting with Tomopoulos and they expect him to inform them of the exact plan of the upcoming restructuring.

The protest continued to the Ministry of Finance where OTOE members met with representatives of Minister Yiannis Stournaras. According to the latest information, the Ministry is trying to guarantee the jobs of employees in Post Bank after its sale. The most likely scenario remains the development of a programme for voluntary redundancy, which will provide an additional financial incentive for long-time employees to leave the bank shortly before retirement.

Despite the disagreement of the employees in the sector, the processes of restructuring of the Greek banking system continue. The limited market and liquidity problems are forcing the financial institutions to reduce their operating costs. After the merger of the National Bank of Greece and Eurobank, a reduction of staff will follow - by 20% in branches in the country and by 25% in those abroad. In addition to consolidation, the banks in the Mediterranean country have monitoring trustees from this week onwards, which will monitor the proper allocation of the funds in the refinancing of banks under the Memorandum of financial support. The monitoring trustee of the National Bank of Greece and Eurobank is Grant Thorton. KPMG has undertaken to play this role for Piraeus and Mazars - for Alpha Bank as reported by To Vima newspaper.

Tags: SocietyMarketsCompaniesPost BankGreeceBanksStrikes
GRReporter’s content is brought to you for free 7 days a week by a team of highly professional journalists, translators, photographers, operators, software developers, designers. If you like and follow our work, consider whether you could support us financially with an amount at your choice.
You can support us only once as well.
blog comments powered by Disqus