The employees of Credit Suisse, as well as those of UBS, are facing major uncertainty following the Swiss government’s brokered deal for a takeover by UBS. The Swiss Bank Employees Association (SBEA), an affiliate of UNI Global Union, is in contact with the leadership of both companies and the Swiss government. SBEA is calling for the establishment of a task force to include banks, social partners and authorities in order to put together a rescue package for staff.
To support these workers and ensure they are not left to face the consequences of the buyout alone SBEA has published the following priority objectives:
1. Job losses must be kept to the absolute minimum.
SBEA is calling for a freeze on redundancies until the end of 2023 and then the implementation of unpreventable redundancies as part of the social plan. Special and stronger protection against redundancy is needed for employees aged 55 and over who have particular difficulties in finding a new job. Where possible, financially compensated early retirements should be the first option.
2. The impact of redundancies must be mitigated in the best possible way.
Where job cuts cannot be avoided or implemented, for example, through early retirement, UBS and Credit Suisse need to make an effort to simplify the transition to a new job for affected employees, such as through thorough retraining. While there is a shortage of skilled workers in the financial sector the take-over threatens job cuts on a scale that the labour market in the banking sector would not be able to absorb.
3. The tried and tested social plans must be expanded.
It is necessary that additional measures apply to all employees of Credit Suisse and UBS. The current social plans of UBS and Credit Suisse are good instruments for ordinary restructuring. But the takeover goes far beyond that. It is therefore necessary for additional measures to be negotiated with SBEA as the social partner.
In addition, there needs to be a state guarantee for jobs in the future. It is not acceptable that the companies are protected by taxpayers’ money – but the employees go away empty-handed. Bank rescue must also mean jobs rescue. The billion-franc guarantees from the Swiss government should be linked to conditions benefiting the employees, and the government should contribute directly to the costs.
“We fully back the Credit Suisse workers and their union SBEA. They cannot be left to pick up the tab for while others have already been taken care of. If workers’ tax money is being put forward, workers’ interests need to be put first and foremost,” said Oliver Roethig, Regional Secretary of UNI Europa.