Job fears and abuse take toll on bankers' health- study

The _Don

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Fears of job cuts and "banker bashing" are taking a toll on the health of bank workers of all levels, according to an international study published on Wednesday that follows a trail of burnouts and tragedies in the world of finance. The study by Swiss-based UNI Global Union found more than 80 percent of banking and insurance unions in 26 countries cited deteriorating health as a major problem for their members in the past two years, with many now working in a "climate of fear". More than half of the unions in 16 countries from Europe, four from Asia and three each from Africa and Latin America said members complained their personal lives were also under considerable strain as they battled the financial crisis. Lynn Mackenzie, author of the report "Banking: The Human Crisis", said bankers in the glass towers of finance were often blamed for the global financial crisis, but this finger pointing also impacted bank workers lower down the pay chain. "Bank employees are having to face angry customers, sometimes on a daily basis, whose lives are falling apart and they blame the banks," said Mackenzie, adding the survey was one of the widest pieces of research looking at bankers' health. "But on top of this, managers at banks are putting pressure on staff to meet often unrealistic sales and performance targets. This can be the tipping point into health problems." The report comes a day after senior British banker Hector Sants, head of compliance at Barclays <BARC.L>, was signed off on medical leave until the end of the year suffering stress. His leave echoed that of Lloyds <LLOY.L> Chief Executive Antonio Horta-Osorio who took two months off in late 2011 after suffering sleep deprivation and exhaustion. Two highly publicised deaths this summer also highlighted the pressure facing workers in the finance sector. Zurich Insurance <ZURN.VX> is looking into the suicide of its chief financial officer Pierre Wauthier and investigations are ongoing into the death of Bank of America Merrill Lynch <BAC.N> intern Moritz Erhardt who was found dead in his London lodgings having worked through the night several days running. Mackenzie said the public had little sympathy for bankers but needed to realise it was not just highly paid executives feeling the strain, but workers at all levels and pay grades. Unions cited stress as a key health issue, with workers concerned about losing their jobs, being replaced by younger, cheaper or offshore staff, unfeasible sales targets, lower salaries, and having to complete the same work with less staff. The report found about 193,000 jobs have been slashed in the finance sector in the 26 countries surveyed since mid-2011, and the cuts were not over with restructuring ongoing. "Pressure to cut costs and sell products has created a climate of fear at many banks and workers are too worried about their jobs to speak out or admit they are suffering mentally, fearing it will jeopardise their job," Mackenzie told Reuters. UNI Global Union, which represents 900 service sector unions internationally, said it wanted a fairer approach to restructuring, limiting payments to shareholders and more done by management to preserve jobs
 

Satch

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No sympathy for the likes of Sants, who has probably discovered just how effective his many years as Grand Panjandrum of the FSA actually was.

However there are a great many people who work for banks etc in pretty mundne back office jobs on ordinary salaries in boring places who have over the past few years been treated like **** in the name of "cost saving" whilst the true cause of the high cost base remained untouched.

I know quite a few and without exception they under pressure to do more with less, constantly hassled by stressed middle management who do not really know what to do other than say "Yes boss that next idiotic cost saving is a wonderful idea. How clever you are".
 

John Jones Jr

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finger pointing also impacted bank workers lower down the pay chain.
Guilty by association. From my experience those that were lower down the pay scale were full of it in the 'good ' old days, little girls behind desks in crappy offices couldn't wait to offer money & products, one or two even getting annoyed when you didn't deal. So, I find it difficult to have much if any sympathy for any bank employees.
 

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Sounds as if they need to join some sort of organisation that will work to prevent their exploitation by the greedy senior management of these banks and collectively bargain to better their working conditions. :rolleyes:
 

Paul/

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... without exception they under pressure to do more with less, constantly hassled by stressed middle management..."
-same applies to most big businesses/organisation, though isn't in itself a bad thing (the bad thing of course, is when there's no practical means of achieving more with less).

... stressed middle management who do not really know what to do other than say "Yes boss that next idiotic cost saving is a wonderful idea. How clever you are".
-in my experience (not in banking) many people at many levels are outspokenly critical, but even when they suggest alternative/better solutions, they usually get a JFDI response- because the spreadsheet demands it. It's bad enough for those at the bottom of the heirarchy, but even worse for those with any staff responsibility who may be privately pushing back up the line whilst needing to publicly enforce the party line.
 

Palfrem

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Fred The Shred and his immoral, venal, unprincipled and arrogant chums can rot in the most unplesant corner of Hell as far as I'm concerned, but the nice lady on the counter of my local Lloyds does a splendid job and is always pleasant and helpful.
 

artyman

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Banking was changing from "providing a service to the customer" to "how can we sell to them" culture around the time I quit in the late eighties.
 

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