THE merger of two of Spain’s largest banking entities, CaixaBank and Bankia is on course to axe nearly 10,000 jobs, union bosses were informed yesterday.

CaixaBank management informed union leaders that Spain’s largest lender will reduce its workforce from 44,000 to 36,109, a cull of 18.7%.

The cuts represent the third largest loss of jobs since the economic crisis of 2008, when Telefonica and Seat cut thousands of workers and left unemployment in Spain at record highs.

The mergers fallout adds to what is a disastrous period for Spain’s banking sector, that has sought to consolidate due to the COVID-19 pandemic, leading to over 100,000 jobs lost since 2008, and over 10,000 since 2020.

A spokesperson from CaixaBank explained that the cuts are due to the overlap of the two former companies, and given the similarities of roles performed by staff across both branches, roles within the company will be reduced.

CaixaBank also explained that the move to online banking and the digitisation of financial services across the board reduce the need for physical branches, leading to over 1,500 branches facing closure, 27% of the total presence in Spain.

According to unions, the majority of the losses have been voluntary redundancy, with others being performance based, however union leaders have slammed the company’s compensation packages and called the treatment of the outgoing staff, ‘savage’.

The bank has also claimed that only half of workers culled will be over the age of 50, in order to reduce the number of experienced employees lost.

The company has also reiterated that anyone laid off will receive “an outplacement and support plan to facilitate their incorporation into and adaptation to a new job position elsewhere.”

Although CaixaBank has not cited financial reasons for the cuts, unlike BBVA who in February told workers that they will be shedding 3,000 jobs this year, instead calling it a restructuring.

Despite having received a statement of intent by the bank, unions are hoping that the initial figures of 6,000 to 8,000 job cuts will be reduced and negotiations are underway to minimise the damage.

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