UNI Europa stands in solidarity with UniCredit workers in Slovakia

Tuesday 19 November 2019

After 2 failed rounds of negotiations, UNI Europa’s Slovakian affiliates in the trade union OZ PPAP have announced a strike alert in their branch of the UniCredit Bank Czech Republic and Slovakia, following the employer’s continued refusal to accept any of the union demands concerning working conditions and wage increases as part of their collective bargaining process for 2020.

The bank is a member of the UniCredit Group, a successful pan-European commercial bank that ranks among the five largest in Slovakia. It has also achieved a significant surplus over its initial planned revenue.

This wealth does not seem to be shared with the employees, however, whose wages are significantly lower than in most other West European countries.

Management says that they are unable to increase wages, even by the rate of inflation, and that a 13th month salary of € 500 can only be offered if basic wages are lowered.

On the other hand, board members receive annual bonuses of 100% of their annual wages in accordance with Group policy, in contrast to only 70% of the ordinary employees who receive an annual bonus, and then only of between 4-16% of their annual wage.

Employees in the bank branches work without any annual bonus at all and in most cases have a basic salary only starting € 800 gross and never exceeding € 1000 gross. They can improve their basic wages by quarterly rewards, the payment of which is conditional on higher sales plans – which are only met by 60% of employees.

The trade unions are ready to assert and defend the rights of employees through all legal possibilities, including going on strike.

“We see this as a clear sign of a different approach to employees in Central and Eastern European countries,” said Angelo Di Cristo, Head of UNI Finance .

“UNI Finance stands in solidarity with our colleagues in the UniCredit Slovakia” he added .

This situation is the more striking because the UniCredit Group is proud to be awarded the Best Employer Certificate in countries like Italy and Germany, and earlier this year signed a Global Framework Agreement with UNI Global Union (read more here).

With work overload, overtime and double-digit fluctuation of employees, achieving wage increases and financial incentives for the workers are a priority for the trade unions.

“UNI Europa Finance fully supports our Slovakian affiliates in UniCredit and hopes for a successful outcome to the negotiations”, said Maureen Hick, UNI Europa Finance Director. “The social dialogue with the employers must be strengthened and trade union demands met for increased pay and better working conditions,” she concluded.