Arion Bank, formerly Kaupthing, gave notice to 57 employees yesterday, which is the most extensive layoff since the banking collapse in 2008. Thirty-eight of those laid off worked at the bank’s headquarters and 19 at its branches, 12 outside the capital region.
“We were very surprised because the bank has little by little been decreasing the number of employees through renewal and staff turnover. We thought that would suffice,” commented Fridbert Traustason, chairman of the Confederation of Icelandic Bank and Finance Employees (SFF), to Morgunbladid.
Traustason said he is also dissatisfied with Arion Bank’s explanation for the layoffs, that projects regarding settlements of past financial obligations and solutions to debt problems of companies and individuals have been completed, among other reasons.
According to his discussion with the bank’s employees, they have been kept very busy lately and worked considerable overtime, Traustason said, adding that since the banking collapse the number of bank employees in the country has dropped by approximately 1,700.
There are now a similar number of bank employees in Iceland as during the years 2003-2005, yet the banks’ projects are much more extensive now, Traustason stated.
Steinthór Pálsson and Birna Einarsdóttir, directors of Landsbanki and Íslandsbanki (formerly Glitnir), respectively, said they are not planning any layoffs in the near future.