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Italy’s UniCredit close to agreeing job cuts with unions: sources

MILAN (Reuters) – Italy’s top bank UniCredit <CRDI.MI> is close to an agreement with unions after nearly two months of talks on up to 6,000 layoffs in its home market under a new four-year business plan, two sources familiar with the matter said.

The agreement, which is expected to be announced on Thursday, comes at a time when coronavirus contagion has prompted the bank to close more than two thirds of its branches and halt dividend payments. Top managers have also said they would forego their 2020 bonuses.

A union source said the deal is likely to include 5,200 voluntary layoffs, mainly through early retirements, compared with the initial target of 6,000.

Some 800 staff would be retrained and reassigned, the person said, adding UniCredit had also agreed to around 2,600 new hirings.

UniCredit declined to comment on the details of the accord.

The initial 6,000 figure had comprised 500 staff who had opted to leave under the previous round of voluntary layoffs but had been left out.

Now there are around 7,000 employees potentially interested in the exit packages, according to the source, which should allow UniCredit to comfortably hit the revised target.

The bank has undergone a deep restructuring under Chief Executive Jean Pierre Mustier who arrived in mid-2016 and has been slashing costs and beefing up capital reserves.

Mustier’s first business plan, dubbed Transform 2019, included a total of 14,000 job cuts while the latest one unveiled in December, dubbed Team 23, contains a further 8,000 job cuts, the bulk of which are in Italy.

(Reporting by Valentina Za; editing by Agnieszka Flak and Elaine Hardcastle)