Zurich: Credit Suisse and UBS must freeze any job cuts planned as part of their emergency merger, the Swiss Bank Employees’ Association (SBPV) said on Tuesday, in an open letter to the country’s parliament.
SBPV managing director Natalia Ferrara has written to lawmakers to demand they consider staff affected by the collapse of Credit Suisse and halt any job losses until the end of 2023.
“We call on you to support our demand for a freeze on layoffs by the end of 2023 in parliament,” Ferrara wrote in the letter seen by Reuters.
“Politicians must not shirk their responsibility,” she added.
The Swiss parliament is due to meet in extraordinary session on Tuesday to discuss the state-sponsored rescue of Credit Suisse which took place last month.
UBS agreed to buy Zurich rival Credit Suisse for 3 billion Swiss francs ($3.31 billion) in a deal engineered by the government, the central bank and market regulator to avoid a meltdown in the country’s financial system.
“For the past three weeks, many of the approximately 17,000 employees at Credit Suisse and the 22,000 UBS employees have been looking at their future with uncertainty,” said Ferrara, referring to the staff numbers in Switzerland.
“In the public debate about the takeover of Credit Suisse by UBS, there is a lot of talk about numbers, money, regulation, ‘too big to fail’ or bonuses,” wrote Ferrara, whose organisation represents 6,000 workers in Switzerland.
“But the affected employees of the two banks remain only a side note. That needs to change.” UBS Chief Executive Sergio Ermotti last week warned there would be “change and hard decisions” ahead following the takeover.
The giant bank created could reduce its workforce by 20 per cent-30 per cent, it has been reported by Swiss newspaper Tages-Anzeiger, with 11,000 jobs being cut in Switzerland.
UBS has said it is too early to speculate on job cuts.
Ferrara said it was not the fault of the bank employees that the rescue was required, adding it would take months for UBS’s plans to be worked out.
“Now it is time for the affected employees of the two banks to be given protection and respect,” Ferrara wrote in the letter that was first published by Swiss newspaper Blick on Tuesday.
“It must not be the case that parliament debates money and technical aspects of the CS rescue for days during the extraordinary session and the people affected are forgotten.”