UniCredit reaches a deal with unions as it seeks to cut domestic operations

UniCredit has reached a deal with unions over thousands of lay-offs in Italy, ending a protracted struggle over a plan by the country’s biggest bank to streamline domestic operations.

Under the deal, 3,000 UniCredit employees will get access to early retirement plans, the FABI banking union said. This comes on top of planned lay-offs for 600 staff and a further group of 1,100 employees, who are expected to leave the bank in 2014-15, it said. UniCredit has agreed to hire more than 2,000 new staff by 2013.

The breakthrough comes a few weeks after Federico Ghizzoni was appointed at the helm of the bank, replacing Alessandro Profumo, who quit abruptly last month following a power clash with shareholders.

“Negotiations were difficult,” said FABI secretary general, Mauro Morelli. “We are sure Federico Ghizzoni will not hinder the important results achieved.” Profumo, who turned the bank into a pan-European player through a string of acquisitions, had laid out the cuts as part of a plan to boost efficiency.