Spanish bank Sabadell to cut up to 1,605 jobs, union says

FILE PHOTO: People walk at the door of a Sabadell bank office in Barcelona, Spain, September 7, 2021. REUTERS/Albert Gea/File Photo

MADRID (Reuters) – Spanish bank Sabadell has reached an agreement with unions to lay off up to 1,605 employees in its home market, fewer than the initially planned more than 1,900, the leading union Comisiones Obreras (CCOO) said on Friday.

The agreement to reduce the workforce in Spain was reached after the bank met some of the union’s demands, such as setting a lower number of layoffs, capped at 1,380, a union spokesperson said.

“If 1,380 employees take redundancy leave the bank would accept it,” the union spokesperson said, adding that if more employees decided to leave cuts would be capped at 1,605 employees.

Sabadell declined to comment.

Spanish banks and their counterparts elsewhere in Europe are cutting costs and adapting to a shift toward online banking, either by themselves or through tie-ups, as their overall profitability is eaten away by ultra-low interest rates.

In September, Sabadell presented unions with a plan to cut 1,936 jobs and close or partially shut 496 branches, amid a shift towards online banking.

It is the lender’s second workforce reduction in less than a year after recently cutting 1,817 jobs in Spain, where it employs a total of 14,648 people.

A total of 320 branches will close, almost a fifth of the bank’s more than 1,600 branches in Spain, while the rest will open a few days a week, one of the sources told Reuters in September.

In May, Sabadell said it expected additional annual cost savings of around 100 million euros ($118 million) in Spain as part of a new three-year strategic plan after generating 141 million euros in annual cost savings following the previous staff cuts in 2020.

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