The bank faces one of the biggest layoffs in recent years. In BCP, Santander and Montepio alone, it was announced that more than 2,000 people had left.Oh More Union, António Fonseca served as chairman for one year, Has 38,000 members and becomes the largest member in the country, which is the result of the merger of multiple organizations in the industry. This professional who left Caixa Geral de Depósitos to participate in union activities nearly 20 years ago regrets the devaluation of his career. He promised, “If it were today, I would not choose to be a banker.”
Mais union will be able to reduce planned layoffs bank?
I don’t know if I can, but we have been negotiating and have been fighting in recent years. For example, this year, Santander has been acting cautiously. We talk to the management almost every week; we often try to find a solution. Many people have projects abroad, and we can help those who want to build them, but others have nothing, we must respect and help. We created a team that deals with it every day, with a dedicated SOS Laboral hotline, a dedicated phone, and a lawyer who conducts the first screening-then telephone, digital or face-to-face interviews.
This wave highlights the trend of refinement of cadres over the years. Mário Centeno said this week that the restructuring of layoffs is a global trend, with 1,220 people leaving in 2020. How do you deal with it?
With a lot of concern. At the last board meeting, they used the expression I agree with: Someone tried to destroy our race. We are very worried about the Maltese tigers, but it seems that they are going to eliminate this well-accepted and recognized profession; bank employees are recognized in their city and slander this image. We know that automation must happen, and the banking industry has been at the top of the technology wave, but we hope that other places and resources will emerge.
Digitization will destroy some jobs, but it will create other jobs.
Exactly. The damage that is happening in places is not compensated by new departments and occupations. This is destructive, because banks also use outsourcing factors for work in the banking industry, and the price is much lower than the price paid to bank employees. We talked about this in our statement released this week: The industry must move away from outsourcing and take advantage of the bankers it owns.
He said that the difficult and fast reorganization surprised him.There is training to adapt those who exist in this new reality digital?
No. The bank opened one branch after another at a certain point in time, and now, partly due to the pandemic, the bank requires customers to be removed from the branch, which is the last straw. This is a natural occurrence, but it may take time-and the opportunity has already been created. One of our biggest concerns is its aggressiveness, so many people are fired. This is terrible. It should be done step by step. People are not prepared for this.
But most don’t go today bank.
it is true. Technology, applications, and online banking save us from going to the counter as much, but they are not applicable to the entire social structure. Not everyone knows how to use digital networks. Banks have forgotten this. There are already some areas in the country where there are no banks to provide services. I am a CGD employee and Caixa should play a utilitarian and public role-just like a few years ago, every county must have a Caixa; now it is set aside. A public bank must also focus on providing public services.
Can people’s resignation be compensated by adapting to new positions and relocating?
Exactly. If you must do other tasks, train them and let them take on other roles. They are 45 to 55 years old, don’t tell me they can’t reformulate their way of working. They only need training and tools. No one is old at 45.
How do you think these restructurings were carried out soon after the major banks turned losses into profits in the first quarter? Even Novo Banco has achieved positive results.
This is what makes me feel shameless. Restructuring is still understood to produce negative results, but when they are positive, the ratio is positive. Even so, they are still trying to continue this upward movement on the workers’ accounts… I know that interest rates are negative and the bank must find money to make money. Method, but the formula is always the same…
Banking unions are reluctant to accept harsher or more radical options. But in the face of this scenario where thousands of people are fired, is the chance of strike still out of your sight?
I belong to a union that always tries to measure people’s pulse. There is no point in proposing unanswered actions, setting up a ten-day strike without people even doing it for a day. We must feel the expectations of our partners. Therefore, we always attach importance to negotiation. We will not take to the streets to mark the union land until this road is over. But we are entering a dead end, if we must, let us go down the street.
Have you already had a date?
It has been and will soon. I will not mention the date because we agreed to disclose it after the authorities announced it, but it will still be in the first half of July, which is the end of the day.
The accelerating digitization with the pandemic means a continuous reduction in bank staff. Is becoming a banker no longer attractive?
this is. If I were 20 years old, which is the age when I joined the bank, I would no longer be a banker. At that time, the average salary was pretty good. In recent years-I have been in the bank for 30 years-it is no longer economically attractive, in a work environment… Today’s bank staff are violated for business purposes. I say a special word to the staff of the business network. They are the ones who suffer the most from the harassment. They are always harassed by the target. And the value you get is not attractive at all. Young graduates who join the bank receive 800 Euros. For those who have already worked, studied, or graduated, this is not a reasonable amount. I will not be a banker today.
The country has been talking about breach of contract. Is there a banker in this situation?
No, I didn’t know that they used deferred payments because there were no layoffs, no loss of income, and mortgages helped bank employees-this is a positive thing. The bank has been on the front line. Some people talk about doctors and nurses, but we continue to work with open doors because people need banks every day. Today we have protective measures, but for a long time bank employees did not even have them, because even acrylic is out of stock. We took a lot of risks in the beginning. Today, fortunately, this has been resolved, and there are still many people working remotely.
Last year, the closure of SAMS during the pandemic caused controversy. Are health services working properly?
Thank goodness already. We were unhappy about a small outbreak of SAMS, which scared us because we still didn’t know how to control and deal with it, and we had to shut it down. Fortunately, they can work normally now, we have done all the work, and very careful, this is what we did not have before. The beneficiaries are returning, and we are gradually recovering-not yet reaching the level of 2009, but we are moving towards normalcy.
Mais is a union and also a boss: it employs thousands of people in SAMS. It is already facing a strike. Does being a boss soften the demands of the union?
No, but it is not easy. Unions are not born bosses, they are born to talk to their bosses, needs, needs. But all the presidents of Max have the side of “Olivia is a tailor and Olivia is the boss”. This dual role is not easy. In fact, no other union in the world has created a health subsystem. There, we are unique; at an international trade union meeting, it is a sense of pride to say that we have a hospital, a clinic, a clinic, and a health subsystem as a benchmark. What it’s like to have a 90-year-old and 100-year-old partner: We will take care of their health. But this is not easy, and it is often counterproductive. For six months, I negotiated the company agreement as the boss, and then negotiated as the union on the other side.
But is it easier to understand the other side?
Yes it is. We can’t satisfy everyone. One issue I have to focus on is the sustainability of SMAS. I manage and serve bank employees there, and I have to make a distinction.