Bank workers’ union Etyk said a 24-hour strike scheduled for Friday at Hellenic Bank was going ahead as planned, blaming the management for digging its heels in over the terms of employment in a separate company set up to administer bad loans.
“Unfortunately, despite our latest efforts to strike a deal with the bank’s management, there has been no result, with the bank insisting on positions that endanger labour rights, agreements and procedures, including jobs,” the union said in a statement on Thursday.
The union opposes the bank’s decision to transfer around 130 employees to APS Debt Servicing Ltd, to which it will outsource management of its non-performing loan portfolio, currently standing at €2.5 billion, or 57 per cent of its loan portfolio.
Hellenic announced its agreement with Prague-based APS Holdings to set up the debt servicing company in January.
The union charged that Hellenic had initially agreed that workers transferred to the new company, through a deal with Etyk, would be given the status of secondment.
It accused the bank of changing its mind “for unknown reasons” and complained that it had no clue what the provisions of the agreement with APS are.
“We won’t allow around 130 colleagues to be kicked out, nor those who could find themselves in the same situation in the future if the bank is allowed to have its way,” Etyk said.
The bank has repeatedly said affected workers will work under the same employment terms in the new company, due to launch its operations on July 1.
It also promised, in writing, to hire back any worker who would seek to return to the bank after a two-year period at APS Debt Servicing.
In a letter to staffers, Hellenic said any rights and obligations would be transferred to APS and there would be no difference whatsoever with the terms they had at the bank.
“All of your rights deriving from the collective agreement in force on the transfer date, will be respected by APS Debt Servicing in accordance with applicable law,” the bank said.
It also afforded the affected employees additional rights, over and above those provided for by law, including low-interest loan rates and credit cards and participation in early retirement schemes announced by Hellenic.