Switzerland prepares for mive job cuts

The unions are already calling for a rescue plan for the tens of thousands of jobs at risk.

Tens of thousands of jobs could disappear in Switzerland following the mega-merger between the country’s first and second-largest banks, and unions are already calling for a bailout for Swiss employees.UBS and of Swiss credit. The express but reluctant rescue of Credit Suisse by UBS under pressure from the government and regulatory authorities sent shock waves through the country, where the banking sector weighs heavily.

The stakes are colossal for the 17,000 CS employees in Switzerland. Directly or indirectly, tens of thousands of jobs are potentially threatened“Warns the Swiss Trade Union (USS) on Tuesday. “Many jobs are at risk“, acknowledged the Swiss ociation of Bank Employees (ASEB), warning that the uncertainty currently facing Credit Suisse employees was “extremely stressful“.

A storm is brewing, but no one knows if it will hit them“, emphasizes the ociation. UBS will pay an almost symbolic sum of 3 billion Swiss francs (just over three billion euros) in shares for agreeing to take over a bank on the verge of collapse. To better swallow the pill, the federal state offers a guarantee of 9 billion francs in the event of a bad surprise and the central bank makes available up to 100 billion if necessary.

But it is the redundancies of the two largest banks in Switzerland and elsewhere that worry employees. The two giants currently have approximately 120,000 employees worldwide, including some 37,000 in Switzerland. But once the mega-merger is consummated, there is no doubt that many of these jobs will become redundant.

12,000 jobs lost

The two brands – the sails for Credit Suisse and the three keys for UBS – are present in many cities in Switzerland, often side by side and with a very similar offer. Redundancies are therefore numerous and the think tank BAK Economics warned on Monday that no less than 12,000 employees based in Switzerland at the two banks could see their jobs disappear.

Experts seemed to agree that the jobs most at risk were among Credit Suisse staff, and in particular the approximately 17,000 people working in Switzerland as well as a similar number of employees in its investment banking unit. It is by it that a good part of the scandals which undermined the credibility of Credit Suisse arrived and UBS warned that this branch of activity was going to be markedly reduced.

However, UBS employees are not immune. If two jobs are redundant, it is not certain that it will always be the UBS employee who remains. “We risk ending up in the market with a lot of people who have financial skills, but no more work“warned Stephane Garelli, professor at the International Institute for Management Development on public radio RTS.

The Ethos Foundation, which represents pension funds in Switzerland and holds stakes in the two banks, has urged the Swiss authorities and UBS to sell the national activities of Credit Suisse, considered to be healthy. “This would preserve jobs and maintain healthy competition, which guarantees the proper functioning of our economy.“, she pointed out.

Read alsoUBS bank buys its rival Credit Suisse in distress

“Safety plan”

Swiss trade unions, for their part, demanded on Tuesday that banks and governments launch a vast “safety planfor impacted employees. “Saving the banks must also mean saving jobssaid ASEB, which has set up a task force including people from UBS and government-backed Credit Suisse to put in place a rescue plan for staff. She claims, among other things,a freeze on layoffs until the end of 2023“.

While there is currently a shortage of skilled workers in the Swiss financial sector, the ociation fears that the number of job cuts is too high for the labor market to absorb them. According to the USS, the two banks “have a responsibility to avoid brutal job cuts (…) Credit Suisse employees should not pay for the mistakes made by their managers and the authorities.»

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