Open letter from the EWC to the Unicredit Management and Board of Directors

The social, economic and financial situation is difficult and we are all aware of that. The crisis was not caused by too high salaries or by welfare state.
Today the price is still being paid by the workers and by low‐income individuals whereas those who caused the crisis are still making a profit out of it.

A further mistake is being made right now, i.e. a change in Governmental economic policies that obsessively prioritises a reduction in public debt without touching income from financial trading or large capitals in any way. This is going to penalise economic growth for years, with even more damage to workers and to the younger generations. Rigour in public accounts is a constraint, not a goal. Growth, as Mr. Profumo said, is the goal.

It is right, as Mr. Profumo said when commenting upon the events in Greece, to wonder why the banks are becoming the target of social unrest. The answer is simple and can be found, we think, in the behaviour of the banks over the past few years. We don’t want to generalise. But when in many countries people lose their job or have their salary and welfare benefits cut, when the youth cannot find an employment as those who are mostly to blame for the crisis are raising their salaries once again, all this becomes insufferable.

Lately, Unicredit has also sent out wrong signals on this.

We as the EWC appreciated the management’s decision of not granting any bonuses to the top management in 2008. However, that it did not happen again in 2009 (a year when the Group saw its profits go down by 50%, significantly reduced its headcount and cut personnel costs) was a serious mistake.

We think this was insensitive behaviour towards customers and employers. This choice caused serious difficulties to us, the workers’ representatives, who have always acted with a great sense of responsibility.

There’s a need for a change of policy, there’s the need for a change in the reward systems, and those whohave the greatest responsibilities, i.e. the Board of Directors and the Top Management, should set an example.

Milan, May 26th 2010

The European Work Committee
Unicredit Group

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