The Government asks ‘Goiri’ and Torres for “creative” solutions to soften their 12,000 layoffs

Calviño urges the Bank of Spain to limit the salaries of bank executives, although this could only be done by the European Central Bank (ECB).

Nadia Calviño, José Ignacio Goirigolzarri and Ángel Torres.

The Government has issued a notice to the bank for the employment regulation files (ERE) CaixaBank and BBVA. The Executive has been critical, in public and in private, with personnel restructuring that will result in more than 13,000 layoffs. For this reason, it is launching different messages to the entities to smooth out these cuts through other formulas used by large companies in the past.

Some warnings that have also been transferred, some sources explain, to the main officials of both banks, José Ignacio Goirigolzarri and Carlos Torres, presidents of CaixaBank and BBVA respectively.

It’s time to get creatives ”, explain sources from the Second Vice Presidency of Economic Affairs, which is held by Nadia Calviño. “Not all the adjustment has to be done through an ERE, the managers have to be responsible”, they sentence.

It should be remembered that Calviño has been extremely critical of the banking sector after the announcement of the EREs of CaixaBank (8,291 workers affected) and BBVA (3,800 workers affected). This Tuesday he assured that the Government has “been urging” for three years to “actively seek and work on alternatives” and “Do everything possible” to avoid layoffs.

“It cannot be that it responds in this way to all the support that the Government has put to the economy”, point out the aforementioned sources. Along these lines, the Minister of Social Security, José Luis Escrivá, pointed out that “the leaders of financial institutions must be aware of the extent to which the sector has been protected to avoid greater evils. In this situation, this reflection should inspire any business decision ”.

The issue of layoffs hurts, especially in the case of CaixaBank where, after the merger with Bankia, the Executive holds a 16% stake.

For this reason, from the second vice presidency of Nadia Calviño they have rushed this Wednesday to convey to the financial sector their “concern” because banking EREs may lead to the start of a ‘rally’ of layoffs in large companies.

For this reason, the Executive demands that the entities reduce layoffs resorting to formulas that had already been put on the table in other job restructuring. Among them, facilitate relocation to other companies, train those affected to return to other sectors, better compensation or even premiums.

Punishment of managers

Beyond these alternatives, Calviño has put on the table to punish those responsible for the banking entities. “I believe that the salaries and bonuses of bank executives should be aligned with the evolution of the sector and the economy as a whole,” he told European correspondents this Thursday. And he has urged the Bank of Spain and the European Central Bank to find formulas for this.

But it seems difficult that the supervisory body can do something in this direction. It should not be forgotten that Spanish banks (especially those considered systemic) Like the rest of those that operate in the euro zone, they are under the regulatory umbrella of the European Central Bank (ECB).

This means that they are all subject to the same regulation and, as seems logical, any restriction should cover the entire euro zone, without distinction by country. This was the case recently with the restrictions on the payment of dividends, which apply to all entities supervised by the ECB, without distinguishing by state of origin.

It is not the first time that there has been talk of salary limitation in the Spanish financial system. Less than a decade ago, the financial crisis removed the foundations of the sector and brought with it a restructuring of the banking map that led to the virtual disappearance of savings banks.

Some were nationalized before ending up in the hands of the current banks and, as part of the ‘pact’ that the Government signed with the European authorities (Memorandum of Understanding), the entities that received public aid (Bankia, Banco Mare Nostrum …) had to face limits on the remuneration of its managers for a few years. That is why Jose Ignacio Goirigolzarri, current Chairman of CaixaBank, had a limited salary during his years at the helm of Bankia.