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Commerzbank To Cut 1,800 Retail Branch Jobs By End'15; Aims To Avoid Layoffs

02/22/2013 | 06:45am US/Eastern

Germany's Commerzbank AG (>> Commerzbank AG) said Friday that 1,800 jobs in its German retail branches, or about 11% of the retail jobs in Germany, will be cut by the end of 2015. The bank's management said it has adopted a policy statement to avoid compulsory redundancies in the process.

The bank has said it plans to cut between 4,000 and 6,000 jobs across its operations by 2016 as part of a four-year strategy plan to boost revenues and cut costs. Job cuts exclude online banking unit Comdirect AG and Polish BRE Bank SA (BRE.WA) unit.

In Germany, job cuts can be achieved by measures such as early retirement, part-time work and natural attrition, thereby avoiding outright layoffs.

MAIN FACTS:

-1,800 positions to be cut in the branch business of Commerzbank AG by the end of 2015

-operational redundancies are to be avoided to the greatest possible extent

-talks with employees' representatives started in January so as to negotiate the implementation of the strategic agenda through to 2016.

-at the end of 2014, the bank and employees' representatives will discuss on the basis of strategic growth objectives achieved by this point in time whether further measures will be needed

-the branch business will be remodeled in the coming years, regarding service model, flexibility, product range, individual processes and the branch models.

-the bank will guarantee the actual functional capability of the individual branches at all times. In particular, this means working conditions that don't lead to any isolation of employees, but that are consistent with employee protection legislation and the duty of care on the part of the employer.

-the bank will adhere to the established legal and collectively-agreed provisions such as existing collective wage agreements.

-As in past years, the bank will achieve the job cuts through mutual agreements and by using time-tested human resources instruments.

-If 600 German full-time job equivalents (>> France Telecom SA) have been cut by Dec. 31, 2013, there won't be any compulsory layoffs by Dec. 31, 2014.

-the bank aims to ensure that the changes are successfully implemented by the bulk of the workforce. To that end, it will involve the works council, comply with all employee protection legislation, and the observation of social interests in the implementation of this strategic change process

-"We intend to send out a clear signal that the talks are fair and constructive," said Ulrich Sieber, management board member for human resources. He added that that's the reason for adopting the policy statement.

-Write to the Frankfurt Bureau at djnews.frankfurt@dowjones.com

Subscribe to WSJ: http://online.wsj.com?mod=djnwires

Stocks mentioned in the article : Commerzbank AG, France Telecom SA
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