Thousands of BBVA workers go on a day-long strike to protest layoffs


Thousands of BBVA workers yesterday took part in a day-long strike called by several Spanish unions to protest the bank’s plans to lay off workers.
It was the first such walkout by a national bank in 30 years, according to the national union Comisiones Obreras, the largest in the financial sector.
The same union also called on Caixabank workers to strike on June 9 against their plan to cut 8,000 jobs, one of the largest in Spanish history.
Spanish bankers recently protested plans by five lenders to cut around 18,000 jobs.
In April, BBVA said it was planning to cut 3,800 jobs but later offered to cut that number to around 3,300 to accommodate a shift in customers towards online banking.
“Digitization is something that we force on customers and not the other way around, digitization is a lie.
A lot of customers don’t want to hear about it,” Jennifer Mir, a 42-year-old BBVA employee, told Reuters during protests outside a bank building in central Madrid.
CCOO is demanding that all cuts should be through voluntary redundancies and early retirement, while also calling for greater financial compensation for those who leave the BBVA.
The bank has around 2,400 branches in Spain.
According to the CCOO, between 75% of offices in the north-eastern city of Zaragoza and 100% in most areas of Andalusia closed their doors, while more than 70% of the approximately 23,000 employees went on strike.
BBVA, which declined to discuss the possible impact of the strike on its retail business, added that 35% of its workforce in Spain joined the one-day work stoppage.
“Those of us in the offices are the hardest hit and are under the most pressure to sell financial products like insurance and mutual funds with incredible sales targets,” Nicolas Munoz, a 56-year-old BBVA employee, told Reuters.
Munoz also complained about the lack of staff.
“There’s only two of us in the office and we have too many tasks to do,” he said.
Thousands of people also took to the streets in 28 Spanish cities to protest the BBVA’s plans, which have coincided with government calls for top bankers’ salaries to be cut, according to the CCOO.
Rebeca Casado, a 43-year-old client, told Reuters outside a closed BBVA branch in Madrid that she doesn’t really care about the strike as she is used to online channels.
“Nevertheless, I go there at least once a month to deposit cash because I don’t know any other way.”


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