BBVA, one of Spain's leading banks, has announced an adjustment plan that will involve the closure of 530 branches and the collective dismissal of 3,798 employees. According to the bank, this adjustment is necessary to adapt to the transformation of the financial sector, especially due to increased competitiveness, low interest rates and digitalisation processes.
The collective redundancy plan will affect both the branch network (3,000 employees) and central services (773). The regions most affected will be Catalonia (1,200 redundancies), Andalusia (387), Madrid (357), Valencia (248), the Canary Islands (149), Galicia (111) and Castilla y León (103).
BBVA management and the trade unions have begun negotiating the adjustment plan. CC OO and UGT unions consider 'unsustainable and scandalous' BBVA's adjustment plan. Therefore, they assure that mobilisations of the unions and the workforce will follow.
This is the first time that BBVA has announced a redundancy plan of this magnitude. Until now, it had opted for agreed early retirements and closures of just over a hundred branches a year, except in the collective redundancy plan of 2015 after the acquisition of Catalunya Banc.
The Spanish bank BBVA agreed with the unions to reduce the number of affected jobs of 863. The adjustment will affect 2,935 employees, namely 2,725 dismissals and 210 incentivised leaves of absence. According to the agreement, 2,177 of the affected jobs are from the branch network and 758 from central services and intermediate structures.
Voluntariness of the departure will prevail, as long as there is bank's approval. As for the severance payments, these will be more beneficial for older and/or longer-serving workers affected. For example, those ones between 55 and 62 years old will receive a temporary income of 75% of annual salary until the age of 63, while workers under 50 – or without a decade of seniority – are eligible for a payment equivalent to 40 days per year worked with a maximum of 30 monthly payments. In addition, there will be bonuses increasing with the years of seniority. At the beginning of July 2021, 4,730 workers have already applied for voluntary redundancies, far exceeding the threshold set.
The plan includes also a one-year outplacement plan, extendable up to two and a half years, to relocate 100% of the employees affected by the adjustment who wish to continue working with permanent contracts or through self-employment.