Government offensive at CaixaBank. Through the Fund for Orderly Banking Restructuring ( FROB ), the Executive has voted this Friday against the new remuneration policy of the leadership of the entity, of which the State owns 16.1% after the recent absorption of Bankia .
The proposal, however, has gone ahead thanks to the support of the majority of shareholders, including the La Caixa Banking Foundation , chaired by Isidre Fainé, who is the main owner with 30%. The Ministry of Labor has also pressured the bank and BBVA through letters to discuss with the unions areduction of the you are who have raised.
Thus, the Government has translated into action the criticisms of several of its members in recent weeks, both of the bankers’ salaries and of the staff adjustments they finalize.
Before the vote, the new president of the entity, José Ignacio Goirigolzarri, defended before the shareholders’ meeting held in Valencia that the bank’s remuneration policy is “absolutely regulated” , since it is proposed by the remuneration committee, which has a majority of independent directors and none executive (that is, neither he himself nor the CEO, Gonzalo Gortázar) and carries out its work according to “objective policies and with the advice of external specialist companies”.
In addition, he recalled, said salary policy is approved by the board and by the shareholders’ meeting.
“As for my own remuneration (I will charge a fixed amount of 1.65 million euros plus a variable of up to 200,000 euros, compared to the 500,000 euros that I received last year in Bankia due to the legal limit and after giving up the bonus), the proposal.
It is proposed within the framework of the changes to the board due to the merger , approved in December with more than 99% of the shareholders’ vote As stated in the merger project, an executive presidency has been created, with responsibilities in the areas of audit, communication and institutional relations, and the secretariat of the council.
The remuneration defined and proposed by the remuneration committee, approved by the board and submitted for its consideration today, is in line with CaixaBank’s traditional schemes and is lower than comparable market benchmarks , “he argued before stating that the same is applicable for Gortázar.
The point relating to the new remuneration policy for directors has had 75.7% of votes in favor, 23.1% against (including those of the State and unions) and the rest, abstentions. The other points related to the past and future remuneration of the bank’s leadership, in which the FROB has abstained, have been approved with percentages between 72% and 77%, compared to support between 96% and 99% obtained for the points put to the vote not related to salaries.
This is the first time since the Government of Rajoy appointed Goirigolzarri to the presidency of Bankia to replace Rodrigo Rato in 2012 that the Executive votes against a relevant proposal on the agenda of the State investee, now CaixaBank .
The Ministry of Labor, in parallel, has sent letters to CaixaBank and BBVA , signed by the General Director of Labor , Verónica Martínez Barbero, in which it has made them ” express warning of the obligation that during the consultation period they should be discussed those measures aimed at avoiding or reducing collective dismissals and mitigating their consequences for the people affected, through recourse to accompanying social measures, “in particular” those measures aimed at avoiding or reducing the planned layoffs, “according to a 2012 law .
These are requirements, warn the letters advanced by ‘El País’, of “special significance” given that “the communicated business intention presents elements of special gravity and significance , both due to the impact that the communicated business intention has on employment , as, in particular, due to its effects on workers , on those who are eventually affected by the reported dismissal and also on those who are not. ” The labor authority, they warn, “must ensure the effectiveness of the consultation period.”
A dozen union representatives of the staff, in fact, have intervened in the meeting in a very harsh tone to criticize the “wild and bestial” ere raised by the bank and the “shameful” and “legal, but unethical” salary set for Goirigolzarri.
“We reject forced layoffs, traumatic measures, job cuts and mistreatment of the workforce; we demand voluntary conditions, respect for the workforce and approval of working conditions,” summarized Ruth Bolaños, from CCOO .
“We are not so bad when the president intends to triple his salary,” Begoña Peiró, from SECB , has made ugly. “If you are not able to make CaixaBank profitable in the long term without destroying the workforce, abandon this ship and look for another one, perhaps a pirate one, in which perhaps you will feel more comfortable”, has launched Caterina Llibre, from UGT .
Faced with this, Goirigolzarri has justified the ere ( 8,291 exits initially , although the bank proposed a few days ago to relocate internally to 500 ): “A merger like the one we are carrying out requires a resizing of our workforce in the short term to preserve the maximum number of jobs sustainably in the future . “
Banking, he argued, is a “restructuring” sector that faces “enormous strategic challenges” such as persistently low interest rates, digitization and the entry of new competitors.
The executive has assured that the “clear objective” of the bank is to reach an agreement with the unions and has been “convinced” that it will be achieved, but at the same time has warned that it is necessary to “limit the time” of the negotiations because ” inaction or delay is tremendously harmful. “
The entity intends to reach an agreement before the end of this quarter, so that the exits take place within six to twelve months . “We must all be aware of the situation and we must all find the best answers, which necessarily go through the highest level of agreement between the parties; we must all make a very great effort of understanding, ” he maintained.
Gortázar, for his part, has assured that the bank will “actively seek to reach a reasonable agreement” with the workers that will force “mutual concessions” by both parties. “The staff reduction process does not speak of the behavior of the workforce now, which is magnificent, but rather that we want to project into the future an entity that continues to be competitive and profitable . The long-term sustainability of the entity is at risk if we do not take action, “he warned.
The bank’s chief executive has also opposed the ere being carried out only via early retirement , since “due to the numbers involved, that would mean decapitalizing the entity.”
Likewise, he has defended the need to make the adjustment despite the fact that the bank has just announced a profit of 4.786 million until March (514 million without the accounting effects of the merger ):
“We need to have benefits so that the FROB can recover most of it. possible of their investment , so that the La Caixa Banking Foundation can continue with its social work , and so that our shareholders, small and large, can continue to receive a dividend that complements other forms of support.that have. Having benefits is necessary and is not something an entity should be ashamed of . “