ETYK wants bank worker salaries restored to pre-crisis levels

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By Stelios Orphanides

Bank workers’ union ETYK informed Cypriot banks that it wants its members’ benefits restored to pre-crisis levels, which may result to pay increases of up to 18 per cent.

The union informed lenders with a letter following the expiration of the previous collective agreement on December 31, that it also wants a reduction of working hours to 35 hours, which is 2 hours less compared to now.

The union declined to comment when contacted by the Cyprus Business Mail. An employer source familiar with the matter who spoke on condition of anonymity described the union’s demands as “excessive”.

The list of ETYK’s demands, which “are in the double-digits”, are “indicative of their intentions and are not promising for the banking sector, which is still recovering from the 2013 crisis,” the employer source said. “The losses suffered by shareholders and depositors are huge and it will take time for wounds to heal”.

Still, a source familiar with the thinking of ETYK said that the demand for the restoration of earnings, which had been cut up to 15 per cent as a result of the banking crisis four years ago, when depositors at then second largest bank Cyprus Popular Bank lost all their uninsured deposits while those at Bank of Cyprus, largest Cypriot bank saw almost half of their deposits converted to equity, is a formal process ahead of negotiations.

“Every time a collective agreement expires, demands are raised at the negotiation table,” he said on condition of anonymity, citing the sensitivity of the matter, said. “As it happens every time, banks will calculate the financial impact of these demands ahead of the negotiation”.

“Among workers, there is a sense that they have to raise demands which have a cost,” the source continued.

This will be the first negotiation ETYK will carry out with each bank separately since a group representing the employer side in collective negotiations with ETYK was dissolved after several banks followed Bank of Cyprus’s walkout.

While banks are expected to also raise demands at the negotiating table, and still keep their cards closed, it is expected that they will table issues related to automatic pay rises received by bank workers, either in the form of compensation for the loss of purchasing power from inflation or incremental salary raises based on seniority, the employer source said. “They will also demand that pay rises granted to workers automatically after they attend a course and get an additional qualification also be scrapped”.

The employer source added that banks will also demand concessions that will allow smoother operations in the banking sector and include restrictions in overtime employment, part-time and seasonal employment, and outsourcing, which are “rigidities that always troubled banks”.

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About Author

Stelios Orphanides is a journalist at CyprusBusinessMail.com. To contact Stelios Orphanides: [email protected]

  • cyprusclive

    Leaving the EU would be a good start.

    • Bjoern Luley

      Please leave the EU, but then you have to accept, that the EU and the other members of the Troika, will stop Cyprus to help to survive financially. It would mean the imediate collaps! Cyprus is still bancrupt and do not forget: the so called banking crisis is far from over, because the 10 billion Euro that Cyprus received by the Troika are no presents, they are LOANS THAT HAVE TO BE PAYD BACK!!! This is always forgotten by those fools, who dare to speak about the end of austerity! Therefore the demands of the cypriot unions are another proof that in its present state of affairs and with the given politicians and parties Cyprus is doomed to fail!

      • Neroli

        Loans have to be payed back??? This is Cyprus!! They don’t do that here

  • Eye on Cyprus

    Lots of people would like to see their bank balances restored to “pre-crisis levels”.

    • Survivor

      With interest ! In our dreams !

    • SuzieQ

      Mine is in the oil drum!

  • costas

    Partially,bank workers were persuading everyone to buy Greek government bonds.that fact was not so long ago

    • Douglas Murphy

      They also told me prior to the Laiki Bank bail in that I had nothing to worry about and not to listen to nonsense rumours ,your money is safe with us,fortunately I did not believe the main Manager and transferred my money,(3) days later they stole the other depositors money with no remorse.
      How can you ever trust a Bank again in Cyprus.

      • Rocinante

        I can’t believe after all these years this crap about stealing the savings is still going on.

        First, you can’t steal something that does not exist. The money was long gone before the bail-in. Laiki was leaking like a sieve.

        Second, to my knowledge no one lost the insured part on their savings. The uninsured part was called gambling. Or how do you think the Cyprus banks were able to pay over ten times the average bank account yield of other European banks, which was pretty close to zero at that time, and at the same time they needed several billion euros new capital?

        • Douglas Murphy

          So you seem to support the theft of depositors money,nowhere else in the EU has experienced such a practice .

          • Rocinante

            No, I don’t support it, but understand the difference between insured and uninsured deposits.

            Laiki had 1,8B€ capital injection in June 2012. From that date it was clear the Laiki ship was a submarine and part of the savings were to be lost. Half of the balance sheet was NPLs, etc. I don’t understand how one could see Laiki as safe bank.

            If Catastrofias had not brushed facts under the carpet 2012, most of the savings could have been salvaged.

          • Douglas Murphy

            I was one of the lucky ones because I am resident in Cyprus but many people caught out were expats with holiday homes etc., who do not have the same opportunity of keeping their fingers on the pulse of unscrupulous Bank Management telling their depositors they have nothing to worry about. I am fully aware of the Guarantee set by Banks,therefore,you have to spread your money around to protect yourself as well as making sure the Banks are not affiliated as you will only get one guarantee payment.

  • Bluestorm

    The vultures are at it again.

  • Andreas Louca

    the union should be told that the customers are paying through the nose with extra charges in order to keep them all employed , In the bank crisis , all the staff of Cyprus Popular bank should have been let go , as the bank had failed , The co op were over staffed . Its the customers that need a break with reduced charges . Is it not Time for a new bank in Cyprus that serves good customers for change .

  • cyprus observer

    2 Hours less for 18% more! Lol. Nice work if you cant get it!

    • almostbroke

      Reduce the staff by a third and they would have to work for their money ! This crowd have ‘harder necks ‘ than the Public Service !!

  • John Henry

    do whatever you need. I can assure you I’m not restoring my savings to pre-crisis levels.

  • Barry White

    First the depositors need to repaid or shut the poor excuse for a bank down and let a professional work force run a replacement bank. Not really hard to do.

  • Neroli

    These banks should be open all day and Saturdays for a start, banking is a businesss, not run for the benefits of the employees, we should all pull our money out of the banks until they sort themselves out, if it wasn’t for depositors there would be no loans or wages