PERHAPS the banks had to hit rock-bottom before their boards found the courage to stand up to the employees' union ETYK that has been calling the shots in the industry for the last 30 years. Decisions taken this week by
No Cypriot bank is in a financial position to give its employees loans with such ridiculously low interest, when it charges its customers seven and eight per cent. ETYK's members secured this privilege in the good times, when banks' top brass gave in to all the union's demands. But these are different times in which the banks cannot afford to be so wasteful and collective agreements are not written in stone, even though unions seem to think so.
An even more interesting move was that of the
This practice benefited the union and the strongest businesses in an industry which would agree to top pay rises in order to put the weaker companies under pressure. Now the BoC is a weak bank it cannot allow its stronger rivals – the Greek banks – to agree to pay rises and benefits it cannot afford. A practice that is based on the absurd premise that a company with losses of billions should pay its staff the same pay rises as a company with profits of millions should have been stopped many years ago.
Negotiating with each bank separately, as would eventually happen, would significantly weaken the bullies of ETYK, who, a couple of weeks ago, suffered the embarrassment of having pay cuts imposed on their members at the
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