Financial activities were at the origin of the financial crisis that emerged in the 2007 and although the crisis was heavily concentrated in the USA and Europe, its effects have spread to financial systems globally and spilled over to the real economies. The project looks at the relationships between employers and employees in the banking sector, how the recession influenced them and how has different communication methods helped to cope with the recession.

The effects of the recession

The global financial crisis affected the countries banking sectors in very different ways. If European countries and USA had to seriously make an effort to avoid the collapse of the banking sectors, then many other countries had no problems. In the European Union, quarter millions jobs were lost in the banking sector, most of them in the UK. At the same time some countries still had an increase in the banking sector employee count.

“Estonia, like other eastern European countries, was hit hard by the financial crisis as the credit freeze negatively impacted its credit-fuelled economic growth and real estate sectors. Therefore the banking groups were affected too, but the reduction of employment in the banking sector was well below the national average” – Kirsti Nurmela

Social dialogue

The relations between the employers and the employees has been a serious challenge in Europe because of the crisis. Making agreements between the two sides has become more difficult and at the same time more important. Trade unions have taken many different mechanisms into use to protect the employees, including collective bargaining and the analysis of the situation in order to maintain and create new jobs in the banking sector.

In Europe, industrial relations are well established in the sector, social dialogue is strong, unionisation levels are above the national average in most countries and collective bargaining coverage is relatively high. Collective bargaining in the banking sector takes place mainly at the sector level in Germany, France, Spain and Italy; the company level prevails in the UK, Hungary and the Netherlands. Although, social dialogue does not take place in Estonia.

The collective bargaining coverage in each country depends mainly on union density, the legal framework for collective bargaining and the role of the government.  The proportion of employees covered by collective bargaining in the sector in the countries analysed for example varies from 98% in France 13% to 25% in Estonia and Hungary.