The unions and the banking employer, the AEB, have reached an agreement in principle this Wednesday for the new labor agreement, which affects the workers of entities such as BBVA, Santander, Sabadell or Bankinter. Although there are still some details to close the agreement, the new agreement includes the end of the salary freeze of the workforce that has lasted since the previous agreement expired in 2018 and has been extended since then.
Bankia and CaixaBank staff will have a new agreement before the merger
Now employees will see an increase of 0.25% in 2021, which will also affect the 2019 and 2020 fiscal years and will be paid in a single payment. This will be accompanied by a rise of 1% in 2022 and 1.25% in 2023. To these amounts an extra 0.25% will be added for those entities that obtain profit or distribute dividends in the years 2021 to 2023.
Negotiations have dragged on over the past few weeks and in recent days they were working against the clock since the last extension that had been made to the expired agreement in 2018 lasted until January 31, next Monday. A good part of the agreement had already been advanced since the first meetings, such as those concerning teleworking, digital disconnection or training. However, the pending matter was salary. If an agreement had not been reached, the workers would have had their wages frozen for the third consecutive year.
Until the meeting on Wednesday, the employer’s offer was a 0% rise this year. The unions insisted on the salary increase in 2021 against the savings bank agreement, where 0% was agreed. In that one, closed in the autumn, the employees did have increases through three years. The outbreak of the coronavirus crisis and the profitability problem of the sector with low interest rates had truncated the expectations of the unions to achieve further appreciation.
In addition, the new agreement includes contributions to pension plans of 550 euros from 2023, food aid of 10 euros between October 1, 2021 and December 31, 2022 (which will amount to 11 euros in 2023) and allowances . In addition, life insurance is extended to the entire workforce, regardless of marital status, and with the possibility of including as beneficiaries the person expressly designated by each holder, as long as it is a cohabitant or first-degree relative of the same.
As for the permits, the new agreement indicates that they will count on working days, except for marriage, which will count on calendar days. 24 working days of vacations are also established (splittable up to four periods), a new loan is created to meet various needs, the amount and terms of the home loan are improved, and the concepts to apply for interest-free loans are expanded. Regarding occupational health, it recognizes aggression and external violence as risks to the sector.
The new sector agreement will regulate teleworking for the first time, as has already been done by the one signed by the employers’ association CECA (CaixaBank, Bankia, Liberbank and Unicaja). When teleworking exceeds 30% of the day, the company must provide the employee with a computer, mobile phone and ergonomic chair. In addition, it will deliver to whoever requests it (or will pay up to 130 euros for its acquisition) screen, keyboard and mouse, and will give a monthly compensation of 55 euros proportional to the percentage of telework that is carried out.
For those employees who telework less than 30% of their working day, the company will provide a computer and mobile phone. These people will be able to telecommute from the place they decide. Regarding teleworking due to health emergencies or unforeseen emergency circumstances, the company will provide employees with a computer and mobile phone and will deliver (or subsidize up to 45 euros) a screen, keyboard and mouse, and telework can be carried out from the place that the person decides .
Another novelty of the new banking agreement is that it regulates the right to digital disconnection, the right to privacy when using mobile devices, the right to privacy when recording calls, sounds and geolocation, the right to digital education and the right to artificial intelligence.
From CC.OO. have positively valued the signing of this agreement. “Not only does the current structure of the working conditions of the sector’s workforce remain unchanged, but it also incorporates quantitative improvements and new rights, so necessary now and for the future, such as those related to teleworking and digital transformation. All this in between from an economic and social environment as adverse as the one we are experiencing, “the union highlighted.