Saturday 21 September 2019

Commerzbank staff oppose merger

Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank headquarters in Frankfurt are at the centre of merger talks
Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank headquarters in Frankfurt are at the centre of merger talks

Tom Sims

About 83pc of Commerzbank employees who took part in a staff survey are against a merger with Deutsche Bank, according to preliminary results of the poll seen by Reuters yesterday.

Germany's two largest banks announced in March that they were in talks to merge, a tie-up that unions have said could result in the loss of 30,000 jobs.

Opposition to the proposed deal is stronger at Commerzbank than Deutsche Bank, where a similar survey showed nearly 70pc did not favour a tie-up. "Distance yourselves from the merger plans," Commerzbank's works council wrote in an open email to the bank's management board with the results of the survey, taken during the fifth week of merger talks.

Commerzbank declined to comment.

Employees' opinions count in Germany because workers make up half of companies' supervisory boards that usually are required to sign off on mergers.

The strength of feeling against the merger could also help staff to win concessions from management in exchange for their support.

The survey results are preliminary because Commerzbank employees have until May 3 to give their opinions in the poll conducted by the bank's headquarters staff works council.

Of 11,000 employees sent the survey, 5,500 had responded as of yesterday, with many away for the Easter holiday.

Of those who responded, 82.5pc said the two banks should not merge, 13.7pc that they should, and 3.8pc had no opinion.

The potential merger with Deutsche Bank has prompted media speculation in Germany about boardroom rows at Commerzbank over the proposal.


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