20,000 Layoffs in Spanish Banks, 40% Pay Cuts, Pension Contributions Halted; Spanish Bank Unions Announce Strike; Protests Snowball; When's the Breaking Point?
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Spanish banks have already shed 30,000 jobs in its banking crisis. Another 20,000 cuts are due in 2013, along with pay cuts and reduced pension contribution. In response Spain's Banking Unions Announce Strikes.
Workers at three of Spain's bailed-out banks will stage strikes in coming weeks as they fight mass layoffs, unions said on Monday, spreading industrial unrest to a sector where walkouts have so far been rare.When's the Breaking Point?
While the banks, crippled by a property bubble that burst five years ago, have hogged headlines, employees have so far mostly kept a low profile even as protests become a way of life elsewhere in Spain.
But about 20,000 layoffs planned for 2013, almost 10 percent of the total, could reduce the workforce to levels last seen in 1975, data from the unions showed.
Alarmed at the scale of cuts, employees from across the industry will demonstrate on January 23, while workers from Bankia, Banco de Valencia and NovaGalicia Banco will strike on February 6 and hold partial strikes before then.
Protests are snowballing and becoming more visible, as bankers take to the street and join judges, doctors, bus drivers and garbage workers as strikes become almost a daily occurrence across recession-bound Spain.
As well as losing their jobs, workers at the likes of Bankia are being asked to take 40 to 50 percent pay cuts and many will see pension contributions halted for several years.
Many of Bankia's more than 20,000 employees also bought shares in its listing in June 2011 and face seeing their savings practically wiped out.
The deadline for negotiations between unions and Bankia is Feb 9.
Spain's banks have shed over 30,000 jobs since the start of the global financial crisis in 2007, data from the Comisiones Obreras union showed. With about 20,000 more set to be axed in 2013, the banking workforce could drop to 218,500 by year end.
With 26% unemployment and rising, as well as corruption and fraud at the highest levels in government, I keep wondering when the breaking point will hit Spain.
All I can suggest is some time in 2013.
Mike "Mish" Shedlock