Workers at Itau Unibanco Holding SA (ITUB4) and Banco Bradesco SA (BBDC4), Latin America’s two biggest lenders by market value, are set to stop work as part of a nationwide banking strike.
Employees voted last week to walk off their jobs starting today after the country’s bank federation, known as Fenaban, rejected their request for a 10.25 percent salary increase and instead offered to boost wages by 6 percent, the nation’s bank union said in an e-mailed statement.
Bank workers have gone on strike every year for the past eight, and 2011’s work stoppage shut companies for about three weeks. Employees are joining university professors, central bank workers and other government agencies in striking for better pay packages as part of annual talks to negotiate wages and benefits, known as the dissidio adjustment.
“The banks pushed us into the strike,” Juvandia Moreira, president of the union representing bank workers in the Sao Paulo metropolitan area, told reporters in Sao Paulo yesterday. “The strike will be strong to solve the wage campaign as fast as possible.”
Magnus Apostolico, Fenaban’s director of labor relations, said in an e-mailed statement that negotiations have been ongoing between banks and workers. Bradesco declined to comment, according to an e-mail. Itau didn’t immediately return phone calls and an e-mail for comment.
In the first half of this year, 96.5 percent of the employees that negotiated their wages got increases above the national consumer price index, according to a survey published last month by Dieese, a trade union research institute. That was the highest level since 1996, when Dieese started the research.
Banks in Brazil have about 506,000 employees, with 138,000 in Sao Paulo, Moreira said.
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