By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – Bank employees in at least fifteen states and the capital, Brasilia, started a strike on Tuesday, September 6th, for an indefinite period of time, after salary negotiations stalled between bank workers unions and the National Federation of Banks (FENABAN).
The workers’ union asked for almost 15 percent (the inflation of the previous year plus a five percent wage increase) while FENABAN offered only a total of 6.5 percent.
“Striking is the last weapon to force the banks to meet the just demands of the employees, as decided by the general meetings held throughout the country. Therefore, the strike starts strong and firm, nationwide, for an indefinite time period and will continue until our demands are met,” said a statement released by Contec national confederation of workers of financial companies.
According to strike organizers, bank customers will be able to obtain money and pay bills through ATMs, at lottery stores and through the Internet. “We do not want to hurt the population, we only want to demand our rights,” Contec president, Lourenço Prado was quoted as saying by Agencia Brasil.
In addition to increased wages, bank employees are asking for a one-time bonus of R$8,297, profit sharing results, increased values of meal and supermarket vouchers and daycare/nanny assistance. Bank owners have offered a one-time bonus of R$3,000 plus the 6.5 percent wage increase.
Last year bank employees spent 21 days on strike in October, and at the end settled with financial institutions a ten percent increase in wages, fourteen percent increase in meal ticket values and participation in profits and results.