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Italy: green light for tough negotiations to start over the 6,000 job losses announced for UniCredit staff
Planet Labor, 11 February 2020, n°11649 - www.planetlabor.com

Following on from the presentation at the end of 2019 of a 2023 strategic plan that intends for significant reorganization and the closure of 450 of its subsidiaries in Italy, UniCredit sent a letter on 10 February to the relevant trade unions by way of initiating negotiations over the bank’s restructuring, and which are intended to conclude with an agreement by 31 March 2020. The bank, which is currently enjoying sizeable profits, intends to favor ‘soft’ departures that can ‘mitigate as much as possible any negative social fallout from the new plan,’ by using options including early retirement and the banking sector solidarity fund. 5,500 jobs are to go with the new plan on top of 500 jobs losses left over from the previous plan. The first meeting with the trade unions has been arranged for 14 February and the workers’ organizations are already at their battle stations. Lando Maria Sileoni, secretary general of the FABI independent union has referred to UniCredit’s ‘unacceptable attitude’, which in 2019 secured greater than anticipated costs cuts. The secretary general wants ‘all and absolutely all the topics in the industrial plan to be shared with the trade unions.” Similarly the leader of the Fisac-Cgil union, Giuliano Calcagni forcefully argued, “In no way should jobs and salaries be sacrificed in the name of profits that J.P. Mustier (Ed. note: the bank’s CEO) can distribute to shareholders. Trade unions are also calling for ‘one hire for every two departures’ in a bid to foster generation renewal. The government will be closely following these negotiations and Labor Minister Nunzia Catalfo has called the bank’s leaders together for a meeting on 21 February. While UniCredit can argue the reorganization is based on the fact that physical bank teller operations have fallen by 55% between 2016 and 2019, these negotiations will also be a test case for the whole sector because other major Italian banks have also announced or are about to announce their own restructuring plans.