Bank Leumi (TASE: LUMI) notified the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE) last week that a new collective agreement had been signed with the workers committee, which involved reducing the bank's workforce by 250 this year and 700 by the end of next year, while hiring 450 non-tenured employees.
However, Leumi workers committee chair Miri Rubino has told "Globes" that the layoffs were not part of the collective agreement she signed last week. She also made it clear that if the bank hopes to persuade significant numbers of employees to take early retirement and reach its target of 700 by the end of 2020, then there would be some hard bargaining ahead.
Rubino said, "Every employee that wants to carry on working until they are 67 can do so. If they offer them 300% or 400% as part of a voluntary early retirement package and if they want to take it, then that is their right. But don't come and say that the bank is going to shed 700 employees by 2020, when the bank has also declared that this year is a year of service emphasis. It's like saying that we'll be opening a branch on the moon in 2020. I don't know how they can do such a thing."
Does it annoy you that you were not a party to this announcement?
Rubino said, "I'm responsible for worrying about the bank's employees, their work conditions and salary hikes. I don't manage the bank. If somebody is able manage the bank with 700 employees less, then good luck to them. If the bank has announced that this is the year of service and Hedva Ber (the Supervisor of Banks) has declared this is the year of service because until now the service wasn't good enough, how are we going to see so many employees leave and still be good?"
"Perhaps they think that with digitalization, they can manage with a shortfall of employees. But I don't see it that way."
Rubino insists that branches are still too busy during opening hours and that this will only get worse if there is downsizing, although she acknowledges that in the long run there must be streamlining.
In any event, Leumi's employees will receive a 16% salary hike over the next four years.
These are all challenges facing the newly appointed chairman Samer Haj-Yehia and whoever replaces CEO Rakefet Russak-Aminoach, who announced earlier this week that she is stepping down after seven years at the bank.
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on July 3, 2019
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