Standing in solidarity with embattled US Santander workers

Wednesday 15 November 2017

Today, Brussels welcomed US Santander workers fighting for trade union recognition. Even though many of Santander’s international branches in Europe and South America are already organised, American workers face a barrage of obstacles and obstructions.

From the beginning of this year, employees of Santander, Spain’s biggest bank, have called on executives to respect their right to form a union and treat American workers and customers with the same standards as it treats those abroad. They also called on Santander to respect a fair election for union formation, recognise the organisation and enter into collective bargaining.

Despite committing to respect collective rights and the fundamental rights to organise and bargain collectively in its code of conduct, Santander has repeatedly failed to meet with the workers to discuss the ongoing anti-union obstruction and the proposed neutrality agreement.

As such, delegations of bank workers in the US, Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Chile, Italy, Germany and Spain have engaged in strikes, rallies and marches in an immense show of solidarity and support towards the US workers.

Angelo Di Cristo, head of UNI Finance stated “we are standing with the Santander workers in the US and with our affiliate Communications Workers of America (CWA) to demand the recognition of a union.

In spite of its recognition of union rights and collective bargaining in every country where Santander operates, in the USA, they have chosen to ignore workers’ efforts to engage in discussion. Santander have also perpetuated an environment of mistrust and fear that intimidates employees and discourages them from unionising.

UNI Finance is demanding that Santander end this conduct in the US and start a path with the union for a genuine social dialogue”

The UNI Europa Finance Steering Group, and the whole of UNI Global Union, stand in solidarity with Santander workers in the United States. We urge Santander Group’s CEO Ana Botín to follow the path of social dialogue and take steps to ensure that the management in the US ceases all anti-union activities and enters into dialogue with workers. Until this is achieved, it is clear that US Santander workers’ will not give up the fight.

Hear more about the workers’ story below: