Correspondent in Lisbon
Santander dismisses 685 employees in Portugal, country where it was previously called Santander Totta and in which it maintains 6,000 workers from north to south, including the Azores archipelago, as well as the islands of Madeira and Porto Santo.
The closure of offices can be considered one of the reasons for such a process, as reflected in the closures that have left some populations near Funchal. The same phenomenon has also occurred in several of the nine Azorean islands, which has ended up leading to the termination of contracts valid for 11% of the workforce.
Exactly, 335 of the employees in question accepted the proposed conditions by the direction of the
Spanish entity to leave definitively, while another 350 rejected the same plan with the same features. This circumstance resulted in a tougher negotiation, as the company’s intention was to eliminate those positions in one way or another.
Thus, the workers accuse the administrators of carrying out “illegitimate pressures and harassment practices” with the aim of changing their initial refusal to leave in this way. “We have received several dozen complaints from victims of these practices, with detailed accounts that coincide in describing a systematic and deliberate strategy, aimed at breaking their resistance for not complying with the proposal for termination by mutual agreement,” said the union delegates before continuing: “These are shocking testimonies, mostly from professionals with several years of experience who are removed from their positions at the counters and placed in corners without a real mission, under the threat of being fired under worse compensation conditions.”
The consequences of pandemic and digitization are the two main reasons given by the company for this “restructuring” announced months ago.
The Workers Commission Remember that, before this ongoing process, Santander had already laid off 730 employees since the spread of the coronavirus, and that the Portuguese division of the Spanish firm had presented profits of 300 million euros last year. This data represents a global percentage of 23% to encrypt the cut in personnel since the outbreak of the pandemic.
All this volume of internal information about the entity of Cantabrian origin is produced after it experienced an unstoppable rise in Portugal, which endorsed the lines of action set by Ana Patricia Botín. Its profits have skyrocketed across the border to the point that it has become the first bank in the neighboring country, largely due to the marked weakness of local financial entities.
The operating results have only made it grow without anything stopping them, in part due to the International Bank ofFunchal (Banif), whose healthy assets were acquired shortly before Christmas 2015 for a total of 150 million euros. A controversial operation because the Portuguese economic circles considered that it was carried out hastily and at a low price.
The balance of Santander Totta came to light in full debate due to the excessive ‘Spanishization’ of Portuguese banking entities, which aroused misgivings about a possible loss of sovereign initiative, but which was translated into greater sanitation.
After the Council of Administration del Santander appointed Pedro Castro and Almeida executive president, replacing António José Vieira Monteiro.
After 25 years in the Santander, Castro and Almeida landed at the top of the dome of the Portuguese subsidiary with a team made up of Manuel Preto as vice president and Amílcar Lourenço, Inés de Sousa, Miguel Belo de Carvalho and Isabel Guerreiro as executive directors.
That remodeling took place just when the surplus reached the 436 million euros. An amount that was clearly influenced by the provision of provisions for credit and the decrease in operating costs.
For this reason, the employee representatives do not understand the blows to thin the workforce so much, if the management of Castro and Almeida it is considered as successful. In his opinion, the question is “with what legitimacy is the series of chain dismissals defended if the results speak for themselves and at no point have the losses appeared?” Much more when the Portuguese executive had started his career in the entity back in 1993 and even held the responsibility of the presidency of Santander Totta Seguros between 2005 and 2012.