Banco do Brasil workers halted their activities during the entirety of Wednesday, January 10th, in several states, protesting against the bank's restructuring, which has led to layoffs and reduced wages.
Banco do Brasil, like the Post Office (Correios) and the State owned power supplier Eletrobrás, is one of the institutions on Jair Bolsonaro’s privatization list.
As of the 22nd of this month, 361 locations will be closed, of which 112 are banking centers. Another 243 branches will be reduced to mere service stations.
João Fukunaga, coordinator of the Banco do Brasil Company Employee Committee (CEBB), says that 5,388 workers have already joined the Voluntary Dismissal Plan (PDV).
"We started activities early in the morning talking to bank workers trying to expand the strike movement. We are in a state of permanent strike, approved by the assemblies from all over Brazil," he points out.
"Here in São Paulo, the movement is very strong within the vaults of Banco do Brasil, where tellers sit with their arms crossed because they are losing wages. In branches all over the city, from the west to the east side of town, staff are also reporting that they are crossing their arms", adds Fukunaga.
The CEBB coordinator explains that it will only be possible to take stock of the extent of the strike during the afternoon.
"Nationally, there is a major shutdown of the coffers, in Campinas, [a major city on the outskirts of São Paulo], and in Brasília [Brazil’s capital], in the bank's administrative building in Rio de Janeiro, all against the bank's restructuring", he reports.
Two negotiating panels were mediated by the Public Ministry of Labor (MPT). Last Tuesday (9th), negotiations ended "because the bank did not present any considerable advance that we could take to the workers", according to Fukunaga.
Gustavo Tabatinga, general secretary of the National Confederation of Workers in the Financial Industry (CONTRAF), explains that the immediate objective of the strike, is precisely to put pressure the bank, in order for it to return to the negotiating table with more favorable conditions for workers.
"The government is dismantling Banco do Brasil, preparing for privatization", he emphasizes. "We had this [mediation] channel opened through the MPT, but the negotiation, a round table with these entities, did not take place. Thus, we are betting everything on this mobilization to get this negotiation started".
In a statement released in January to the press and sectors of the market, Banco do Brasil stated that the measures are aimed at "gains in operational efficiency".
This is the third day of a national mobilization against the bank's restructuring in 2021. Similar activities were also carried out between January 15th and 21st.
More information to come soon. Follow our coverage throughout the day.
Edited by: Rogério Jordão