Aggressive sales targets pushing Turkish bank employees to the limit

Thursday 12 October 2017

Turkish banking union Basisen has received the full support of the UNI World Executive, for standing up to alarming sales pressure which is costing lives.

Metin Tiryakioglu, President of Basisen, said, “Sales and targets are a serious problem for our members. The management thinks only about profit and they do not consider the extreme psychological pressure the bank workers are under to meet these targets. Unfortunately, a bank worker, who was a mother of five died recently because of this pressure.”

“Because of the state of emergency in Turkey, we are not able to take strike action and therefore the support of UNI is more important than ever.”

The UNI World Executive Board (WEB) members were unanimous in offering their support and solidarity to Basisen:

“UNI WEB expressed its anger and alarm at the sales target pressure in the Turkish banking sector.

Basisen, which represents bank employees in Turkey, is a longstanding member of UNI Global Union and our UNI Europa regional organisation.

Aided by an ongoing State of Emergency, the absence of basic job security and a persistently high rate of unemployment, bank employers blinded by greed and the endless search for increasing profit, have been putting the weight of the sector’s fierce competition on the shoulders of bank employees.

Employers’ use of digitalisation as a means of reducing the size of the workforce, rather than reducing the workload, increases the fear and risk of losing jobs while simultaneously introducing new sales pressure to reach unrealistic targets.

The UNI Finance campaign “Sales Vs Advice” has long fought to end aggressive sales targets and merit rating systems that are counterproductive to customer protection and qualified advice. The focus on short-term and excessive profit targets has been instrumental in uncoupling financial markets from the real economy. This focus has put a lot of pressure on employees worldwide to meet performance targets and to sell, transforming bank employees from advisors to sellers. UNI Finance affiliates are engaged in pushing for national sectoral agreements on responsible sales; a recent successful outcome is the agreement reached between our Italian affiliates and the Italian Banking Association (ABI) on sales policies and work organisation.

Turkish bank employees under heavy target pressures have been struggling daily with psychological and physical health problems. High-stress and stress-triggered diseases have led to tragic loss of life. We recently lost a sister of ours, as a result of a stroke. She was a young mother with three children and had been working extremely long hours for a multinational bank, under heavy stress like many others in the sector. This sudden and shocking loss has deeply saddened all the bank employees and raised the feeling of hopelessness.

The UNI World Executive Committee stands in solidarity with Basisen and condemns the unacceptable behaviour of multinational banks in Turkey.

We call for immediate genuine dialogue and a consultation process with the union to reduce the pressure on the employees, and to make the sector one that implements a responsible sales policy towards customers and employees alike.