Union Fuming Over Proposed Bank Leumi Layoffs

Israeli banks Discount, Bank haPoalim and Bank Leumi stand next to each other in central Tel Aviv. (Miriam Alster/ Flash90)
Israeli banks Discount, Hapoalim and Leumi stand next to each other in central Tel Aviv. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

Bank Leumi announced Tuesday that it would be undergoing some changes – and as a result, could end up dismissing as many as 1,000 workers during the first year of its reorganization. Approximately 10,000 people currently work for Bank Leumi.

As other banks have already done, this week Bank Leumi presented to the Bank of Israel its plan for efficiency reform. A spokesperson for Bank Leumi said that the plan was still in development.

Several years ago, the bank launched an early retirement program which encouraged hundreds of workers to take a retirement package. The plan to cut staff has been discussed by bank officials for at least a year, even during the period when a new agreement with the union was approved.

Any changes in personnel would be approved by the union, the bank spokesperson said, but the union was not having any of it. “We will not waste words,” the union said in a statement.”We will not allow even one worker to be fired. The only workers we will agree to being removed are those who do so voluntarily. If no one is interested in this, no one will be fired. Beyond that, we are upset that the bank’s plan is being reported on in the media before it is official. We believe that the report will end up being irrelevant, as no workers will be fired.”