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Dresdner staff launch bonus fight

FORMER employees of Dresdner Bank have launched a sensational legal bid for &euro;33m (&pound;29m) in bonuses they claim were guaranteed by the bank but never paid.<br /><br />The group of 72 staff say they were entitled to a share of a &euro;400m &ldquo;retention pool&rdquo; created in response to the Financial Services Authority&rsquo;s concern that hiving off the bank&rsquo;s private and corporate client division would spark a mass talent exodus.<br /><br />The restructuring and subsequent creation of the retention pool came prior to Dresdner being sold by Allianz to German rival Commerzbank.<br /><br />The claimants, represented by Stewarts Law, will cite minutes from Dresdner board meetings, at which former chief executive Stefan Jentszch referred to the need for the retention pool.<br /><br />According to the employees&rsquo; claim, they later received letters describing the bonus awards as &ldquo;provisional&rdquo;, contrary to promises by Dresdner, Allianz and later Commerzbank.<br /><br />Shortly after completion of the takeover by Commerzbank, Jentszch&rsquo;s replacement Martin Reuther e-mailed staff to tell them bonuses would be cut by 90 per cent.<br /><br />The claimants say that while some of them received 10 per cent of their guaranteed bonus, others were awarded nothing at all, despite the unit earning &euro;1.1bn in 2008.