Switzerland braces for wave of bank job losses

The collapse of Credit Suisse bank is raising concerns about the number of employees who will lose their jobs in the merger with UBS.

Switzerland’s two largest banks employ more than 35,000 staff in their domestic market and many roles will be duplicated by the fusion.

Trade unions and the Swiss Bank Employees Association (SBEA) want clarity, particularly for Credit Suisse’s 16,000 Swiss workers.

They have demanded the establishment of a special taskforce to ease the pain of redundancies and to help people aged over-55 to find new employment.

The SBEA pointed out that Credit Suisse indirectly supports other jobs, such as building maintenance and catering professionals.

“In addition, tens of thousands of jobs outside of the banking industry would potentially be at risk,” the organisation stated.

The Swiss financial sector supports 230,600 full time posts, which is 5.5% of the total Swiss workforce. Banks directly employ some 150,500 of these workers.

UBS and Credit Suisse employ 1,700 people in Geneva, making up 10% of all bank jobs in the city.

“Hundreds of jobs are at stake, and it will be a matter of limiting social cuts,” said Geneva’s Economics Minister Fabienne Fischer.

In October, Credit Suisse had already announced 9,000 job cuts, including 2,000 in Switzerland. By the end of the year, 540 Swiss jobs had gone along with the closure of 14 of its 109 branches in Switzerland by the end of February.

Further afield, both big banks employ thousands of other staff around the world from Europe to Asia and the Americas.

Large financial centres such as London and New York are bracing themselves for a spate of redundancies.

In a conference call with analysts on Sunday, UBS CEO Ralph Hamers said the enlarged bank has targeted $8 billion (CHF7.4 billion) in cost savings by 2027. Around $6 billion of these savings will likely come from staff reductions, reports the Financial Times.

Solidaritätsnetz International will provide legal and psychological support to individuals who will be fired due to another wave of capitalist turbulence.

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