“I think that what you are experiencing lately is part of a newly established ‘normality’ that aims to jeopardize working rights and conditions”.

In yesterday’s meeting between Alexis Tsipras and the board of directors of the Piraeus Bank Employees’ Association, the president of SYRIZA- Progressive Alliance expressed his support towards the employees of Piraeus Bank, who are currently “on the front lines of mass mobilizations”.

“I think that what you are experiencing lately is part of a newly established ‘normality’ that aims to jeopardize working rights and conditions” stressed Alexis Tsipras, even commenting that “Banks are some of the country’s worst employers”.

“These banks have been recapitalized thrice on the expense of Greek taxpayers”, he stressed, while adding that “despite the high profits in their balance-sheets, they refuse to play their expected role in the real economy. Small and medium-sized businesses don’t even dare to approach the counter in order to borrow, unless they have proved that they are not in need of a loan, because only then can they receive one” noted Al. Tsipras, speaking of an “extremely aggressive behavior of the banks” towards their employees.

Besides, Al. Tsipras pointed out that banks were the first enterprises to introduce “hired labor” and used to capitalize on “thousands of unpaid overtime hours” for years, a problem that, as he said, the SYRIZA government attempted to deal with through the fines imposed by the Labor Inspectorate; now, nevertheless, banking institutions “have resumed their unscrupulous treatment of their employees”.

He also mentioned the “plan” of Piraeus Bank to close “dozens of bank branches”, complaining that it doesn’t realize that “as an institution that manages public money and does not even fulfill its expected role in the real economy, it is obligated to show high corporate social responsibility” because, as he characteristically explained, “the citizen of Amorgos who will no longer have a branch to serve him/her, has nevertheless contributed to the recapitalization of the bank, so that Mr. Megalou can act as a great and successful manager”.

As he completed his speech, he criticized this “unaccountable practice” and expressed his support towards the employees, and especially those with disabilities, who have endured the bank’s “unacceptable treatment”.

For his part, Manolis Bebenis, president of the Piraeus Bank Employees’ Association, stressed that Piraeus Bank saw the pandemic as an “opportunity” to “shrink its network throughout Greece”, speaking of “concerted practices” between Greek banks with the aim to close numerous branches in the provinces.

Finally, he also denounced cases of employees being forced to resign “voluntarily”, asking for the support of the official opposition and sending a “strong message” to the administration and the State, so that these “inhumane practices can end once and for all”.