Survey highlights toll on bankers’ health

The report said bank workers suffer from excess pressure to sell and meet often unrealistic sales and performance targets Keystone

A survey by Swiss-based UNI Global Union says concerns over job cuts and a climate of fear is taking a toll on the health of bank workers at all levels. It follows tragedies like the suicide of Zurich Insurance chief financial officer Pierre Wauthier.

This content was published on October 16, 2013 - 12:48 and agencies

The “Banking: The Human Crisis” international survey published on Wednesday by UNI Global Union revealed that over 80% cent of banking and insurance unions in 26 countries cited worsening health as a major issue for their members in the past two years.

More than half of the unions in 16 countries from Europe, four from Asia and three each from Africa and Latin America said members complained their personal lives were also under considerable strain as the sector copes with job losses and restructuring following the recent crisis.

The report said workers suffer from excess pressure to sell and meet often unrealistic sales and performance targets, as well as fear of unemployment and having to face angry customers.

Marcio Monzane, Head of UNI Finance said: “This is a crisis that has affected us all in so many ways. While we are rightly pointing the finger at bank owners for their role in the crisis, there are millions of honest, hardworking finance employees whose working lives have been ruined by the unstoppable wave of changes affecting their industry.”

The report comes after a series of high-profile cases of burn-out and tragedies highlighting the pressures faced by workers in the finance sector.

In Switzerland Zurich Insurance has been deeply shaken by the apparent suicide in August of its chief financial officer Pierre Wauthier.

In July top Swiss executive, Swisscom head Carsten Schloter, 49, was found dead at his home. He had committed suicide. Media reports suggested that he had suffered from burn-out.

The report found about 193,000 jobs have been slashed in the finance sector in the 26 countries surveyed since mid-2011, and the cuts were not over with restructuring ongoing.

UNI Global Union, which represents 900 service sector unions internationally, said it wanted a fairer approach to restructuring, limiting payments to shareholders and more done by management to preserve jobs.

In 2009 the Swiss financial sector comprised 11.6% of Switzerland's gross domestic product and employed approximately 195,000 people. This represents about 5.6% of the total Swiss workforce. Swiss banks employ an estimated 103,000 people abroad.

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