The Union of Syndicates of Bank Employees is holding a sit-in today (April 5) in front of the Association of Banks (ABL) headquarters to protest the delay in renewing the Labor Agreement.
A statement by the ABL said negotiations with the union came to a dead end because the union’s demands were too unrealistic.
“The union’s delegates called for a new set of demands that were not mentioned previously,” said the ABL. In a meeting held in March, both the ABL and the union had given their preliminary approval to suggestions submitted by mediator Saad Andary, the Second Vice-Governor of the Central Bank.
Assad Khoury, President of the Syndicate of Bank Employees, said: “We had a few reservations concerning Andary’s suggestions: The syndicate asked for university and school allocations of $4,000 and $2,700 respectively per child and per year, but Andary proposed $3,300 for university fees.”
Another issue concerned working hours. Andary had proposed adding five more hours per week, and making them flexible but the union representatives refused these terms.
Concerning retiring employees, Khoury said: “Employees who reach retirement age should continue to have the right to buy insurance policies even if the bank does not have its own insurance company.” Retired bank employees are allowed to buy insurance policies only from insurance companies owned by their bank (if the bank owns such a company).
The union also called for a three percent salary increase for bank employees every two years, especially if they have a good performance and track record. In addition, employees not included in the latest high cost of living salary increase (employees with salaries above LL1,500,000) should also be granted a raise after resorting to the consulting committee at the Ministry of Justice.
The ABL said that the salaries of bank employees were among the highest in the local private sector. But Khoury said: “Only 20 percent of the bank employees have good salaries, while the rest are average.”