By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – Bank employees all over Brazil started a strike on Tuesday, October 6th, for an indefinite period of time, after salary negotiations stalled last week. Negotiations between bank workers unions and the National Federation of Banks (FENABAN) had been occurring for over forty days. The workers’ union asked for a sixteen percent salary increase while FENABAN offered only 5.5 percent.
“The increase proposed by the banks are unimaginable,” Roberto Von Der Osten, president of the National Confederation of Financial Sector Workers (CONTRAF) was quoted as saying by Agencia Brasil. According to Von Der Osten workers want in addition to the wage increase, increased annual bonuses, better working conditions and guarantees there will be no massive layoffs.
FENABAN issued a statement stating that it was still open to negotiations. The employers federation stated that it would continue to supply currency to ATMs and recommended that consumers pay their bills on line or at banking units installed at post offices and lottery establishments.
According to daily O Globo all states in the country have reported bank branches closed. Union officials say they will only be able to have a clearer picture of how many branches did not open later on in the day. Last year bank employees crossed their arms for seven days between the end of September and beginning of October asking for a 12.5 percent wage increase. The strike ended with FENABAN agreeing to a 8.5 percent increase.