NewsLocalBank employees almost unanimously vote in favour of strike measures

Bank employees almost unanimously vote in favour of strike measures

The bank employees’ union (Etyk) has voted almost unanimously in favour of approving a general strike if and when it is deemed necessary following Hellenic Bank’s bid to lay off 300-350 staff without offering a voluntary retirement plan first.

Hellenic is the island’s second-largest commercial lender and its new CEO – German national Oliver Gatzke – has made clear that costs have to be slashed amid branch closures and increasing digitalization.

This has reduced demand for much of the staff of the non-profit-making lender which views a voluntary retirement plan as costly and unlikely to reduce employee numbers by the cited amount.

A total of 5,745 Etyk members on Wednesday cast a vote, with 5,714 of them – that is 99.5% – giving the union the green light to take tough measures. Only 28 voted against the measures while three votes were invalid.

Gatzke has made clear the bank put other problematic practices on the negotiating table, including the automatic indexation of wages, employer’s contribution to Etyk’s health fund and pay rises.

Salaries, he stressed, cannot rise at a rate of 5 per cent a year given that the bank has not paid out a dividend since 2013.

Etyk, however, describes Hellenic’s proposal a clear and blatant violation of the Industrial Relations Code.

 

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