Banks, the new contract tested by digital, aggregations and employment

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The application of the new national collective agreement for bankers signed by Abi and the unions (Fabi, First, Fisac, Uilca and Unisin) started last December with the first tranche of increase of 250 euros, of the average 435 euros, and the arrears . The final stage of the negotiation allowed companies to have the technical time to deliver the largest part of the increase by 2023, but there still remain a series of steps to complete. The first is certainly represented by the meetings that will start in the next few days, the second by the concrete application that this contract will have in banking groups. After the 128th Fabi National Council, underway in Milan with the participation of the Abi top management and the heads of human resources of the main groups, consultations will open in companies and in the territories of the 270 thousand bankers to whom this renewal has given back a strong identity and also greater bargaining power. This is also thanks to the high participation of workers and the high rate of unionization which exceeds, on average, 70%.

The contract as an open construction site

The times for contract renewals, which always fluctuate between 3 and 4 years – the penultimate one was signed at the end of 2019 and expired at the end of 2022, but the renewal arrived in November 2023 – now appear too long compared to the speed with which technological and social changes occur which today lead to real genetic mutations in organizations within 3 or 4 years. Precisely for this reason, on the one hand the osmosis that can be created between the first and second levels of negotiation appears increasingly important, and on the other the continuity of negotiations. It is precisely in this spirit that the role of the national control room that was created in 2019 was strengthened and which now extends its range of action to the digital bank and becomes the place of permanent discussion between Abi and trade unions on technological innovation , digitalisation, new tasks and professional figures.

The digital bank

The digital bank in which large groups have already started projects and investments, think of Isybank of Intesa Sanpaolo or to the more recent Buddy R-Evolution by UniCredit which represents the evolution of the Buddybank, launched in 2018, represents a very important topic for the organization of work in the sector. And this is precisely one of the issues that the unions will monitor most in the application of the new contract within the groups.

The employment issue…

For now, our country seems to have been spared the wave of cuts that hit credit globally in 2023, leading to over 60,000 cuts in the 20 largest Anglo-Saxon banks, half of which in the United States, according to what emerged from an investigation by the Financial times. The prevailing commercial banking model has achieved very high profits and the plans and reorganizations have remained within the unwritten pact that for every two exits there must be a hire. After the sector has paid a very significant price in terms of employment in the past (banks went from 343 thousand in 2009 to 270 thousand today), today there is greater balance. But this is not enough, if it is true, as claimed by the general secretary of Fabi, Lando Maria Sileoni, that 2,500 hires are still missing from the plans of the last 8 years and therefore in perspective, to rebalance employment, for each exit it will have to there is an assumption.

… and the banking risk

The bankers’ contract has a duration of just over three years and over the three-year period the issue that most agitates the union is certainly the banking risk, where already this year it could be clear what turn the MPS affair will take on which there are deadlines important. In an interview with Sole24Ore on 31 December, the Minister of Economy Giancarlo Giorgetti he explained that «the exit of the Treasury has already begun, successfully, and we have demonstrated that we carry out the necessary operations not because someone tells us to, but when it is the best moment in the general interest. We will continue to do the same thing, without reducing ourselves to selling to the first bidder.” The rumors that have been going on for months about possible candidates for a wedding with MPS, however, seem far from materialising, but in this regard Giorgetti explained that «for various reasons the Cinderella MPS is now much more coveted, and I am convinced that in 2024 a solution capable of redefining the banking system from a polycentric perspective”.

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