Iceland's Glitnir Bank Terminates 88 Employees Skip to content

Iceland’s Glitnir Bank Terminates 88 Employees

Iceland-based Glitnir Bank has given notice to 88 of its employees in Iceland in April and May. The bank’s total number of terminations domestically and abroad since January 1, 2008, now total 255—the most extensive layoff in Iceland’s financial history.

Sixty-four employees thereof received their notice of termination yesterday and on Tuesday, Fréttabladid reports.

“I don’t think this was the best way to go. We have to consider that these are humans, people with feelings,” said Fridbert Traustason, managing director of the Confederation of Icelandic Bank and Finance Employees (SSF).

Traustason said the bank could have decreased the number of employees in a different manner. “I have always been against mass layoffs and solving problems with short-term actions. They only leave people hurt.”

When more than 30 people are given notice at the same time it is defined as a mass layoff. Most of the Glitnir employees who were terminated in the last two days will leave their posts immediately; others have a term of notice of between three and six months.

Traustason claimed that never before have so many people been fired at the same time in Iceland’s financial sector. The previous record was made by Landsbanki Bank when 70 people were terminated at the same time 50 years ago.

CEO of Glitnir Bank Lárus Welding said the mass layoffs had proven very difficult. “It is the nature of financial institutes that they sometimes have to make cutbacks and sadly these actions were necessary. We have been in a rationalization process and I’m glad this part is over.”

Welding points out that more than 300 people had been hired by Glitnir Bank last year and that after the resignations the number of employees is about the same as at the beginning of last year. The CEO would not reveal how much money the bank will save with these actions.

Glitnir Bank has offered to assist their former employees in finding new jobs in cooperation with Capacent employment agency. “There is always the question of how that will turn out and this may not be the brightest time on the financial market,” Traustason said.

According to Fréttabladid, leaders of the government parties, Prime Minister Geir H. Haarde of the Independence Party and Foreign Minister Ingibjörg Sólrún Gísladóttir of the Social Democrats, had been notified of the upcoming terminations some time ago.

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