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2500 jobs to be axed in CGD bank restructuring plan

After all the dire news about its financial situation, the government’s ‘restructuring plan’ for State bank Caixa Geral de Depósitos has been approved, and it confirms the slashing of up to 2,500 jobs within the next three years.

This is in line with all predictions, writes dinheirovivo website, and for now the government is sticking to its pledge that job cuts can be attained without sacking anybody.

Reductions will come from “retirements and early retirements, always by agreement between CGD and the worker (involved)”, says the paper, quoting a statement from the syndicate of CGD employees which stresses the plan seeks to “maintain the current level of market business with less outlets and less workers but with a new organisation and more efficient working-method”.

Outlets will be reduced “particularly overseas” where CGD clients’ interests will be assured by “preferential agreement” with local banks.

Meantime, in Portuguese-speaking (PALOP) countries, the plan is for “sustainable growth”.

It all sounds dandy until one realises that CGD is facing liabilities of at least €6 billion, and as he appointed a new board of 19 directors recently, President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa did away with pay ceilings, so that top brass is in line for salaries of anything between €7704 per month to a whopping €16,578.

Explaining this discrepancy between the bank directors’ pay and the future for personnel lower-down-the-line, national tabloid Correio da Manhã has described the situation as “a scandal”.

The government is further embarrassed by the fact that the parliamentary inquiry into how CGD got into its financial pickle is officially due to start today (Monday) at 5pm, although it will not properly move forwards until parliament comes back from its summer recess in September.

It is a probe expected to throw up all manner of nefarious loans and arrangements dating back to the era when prime minister José Sócrates was not the prime suspect in a convoluted investigation into allegations of tax fraud and corruption.

Against this backdrop, the government will be trying to persuade Brussels that any money pumped into CGD should not be considered “State aid”, but a well-considered business-based recovery programme.

natasha.donn@algarveresident.com