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“Amicable terminations” are being “enforced” at Portugal’s “good bank” Novo Banco

The harsh reality of Novo Banco’s “amicable termination” of staff contracts has prompted questions in parliament and more controversy over how “good” Portugal’s “good bank” Novo Banco really is.

If IT worker Inês Gentil Martins’ story is anything to go by, Novo Banco is not playing by the book at all.

Martins is one of 150 members of the bank’s staff to “refuse the proposal” by her employers to accept an “amicable termination” of her 25-year work contract.

She thus went to work at Taguspark, Oeiras, outside Lisbon, as usual, and on ‘slipping out for a cigarette’ recently returned to find her passcard suddenly “did not open the door”.

From one moment to the next – with her personal effects still within the building – Martins found that her job had been “amicably terminated”.

She is not the only employee to find herself suddenly out in the cold.

“We have various incidences in court and we will be helping the workers advance with their complaints,” the Sindicate of Workers in Financial Activity has declared.

The situation has seen Martins suffering panic attacks, palpitations and breathlessness.

She told reporters: “I am now on medication” as she sets out to challenge the behaviour of her employers.

Martins has explained that these enforced amicable terminations have hit numerous one-parent families.

She herself has “two small children” and is at a loss of how she is expected to survive.

Taking up the cudgels, Bloco de Esquerda MPs have demanded answers from the Ministry of Finance, Bank of Portugal and Resolution Fund.

As has been explained, Novo Banco is being obliged to trim its staff as part of the EC’s restructuring plan, but to do so in such a cruel manner is “unacceptable”, says BE.

In a statement, the left-wingers said they consider it “lamentable that once again workers are the principal victims of successive bank crises that have taken place in this country”.

It is “unacceptable that the State and its institutions can reveal themselves to be the cruelest of bosses, with successive railroading over the rights of these people. We have already seen this at Parvalorem and we cannot tolerate that it repeats itself now at Novo Banco”.

For now, the ‘good bank’ that has cost the country so many billions (which desperately need to be recouped through a sale that so far is not happening) is keeping tight lipped.

Observador website explains that an official source “limited itself to saying: workers who do not accept rescission were informed by writing that they would be dispensed with as part of the process of worker reduction with which the bank is obliged to comply”.

The source did not deny the treatment meted out to staff members like Inês Gentil Martins, added the news source.

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