CaixaBank, one of the largest Spanish banks, has announced a collective redundancy plan that will affect 8,291 employees (18.7% of the workforce). The job cuts are a consequence of Caixabank's merger with Bankia. It is the largest collective redundancy in the history of Spanish banking and the third largest in the Spanish private sector after Telefónica and Seat. The collective lay-off will mainly affect branch staff, as more than 1,500 branches will be closed, 27% of the total network.
The areas most affected by the redundancies will be Madrid (1,511), Barcelona (595), Valencia (528), Murcia (410), Balearic Islands (358), Las Palmas (293), Alicante (253), Granada (279), Seville (237) and Cadiz (125), among others.
The management argues that the merger created duplications, so adjustments are necessary. In addition to that, the existence of negative interest rates since 2016 (which reduces the banks' profits) and the digitalisation of customer services (which reduces the need to maintain part of the branches) also justify the adjustment. However, Caixabank has announced that it will report a profit in 2021.
The Spanish government has regretted the announcement. Similarly, CCOO and UGT unions have expressed their opposition to CaixaBank's job cuts. For CCOO, this proposal is a provocation, as it entails very low conditions for severance payments. UGT stresses that the proposed cost savings fall only on the workforce.
The negotiation of this adjustment coincides with the pay rise for Caixabank board members. In the case of the new president of Caixabank, the remuneration will triple (from €500,000 to €1.65 million). For the unions, this is 'absolutely incongruent' with the cuts in staff and conditions that the bank has put on the table.