MADRID Jan 7 Nationalised Spanish lender Banco
de Valencia, recently bought for 1 euro by the
country's third-biggest bank, La Caixa, will fire more
than half its workforce, union UGT said on Monday.
Banco de Valencia plans to dismiss 890 employees, UGT said
in a statement, and an official consulting period will begin on
Jan. 15. The lender fired 360 workers in 2011.
Banco de Valencia had no comment.
Spain's unemployment rate currently stands at one in four
and banking unions expect 12,000 employees to lose their jobs in
the sector this year.
Banks were badly hit when Spain's boom turned to bust five
years ago, leading the government to seek a bailout for its
ailing lenders in June 2012.
The country's biggest bank, Santander, is reported
to be planning to sack over 3,000 workers following its planned
merger with Banesto, while 6,000 people will lose their
jobs at nationalised Bankia.
Although job losses were expected when La Caixa bought Banco
de Valencia, one of the lenders worst affected by the collapse
of Spain's property boom, union UGT said it believed "cutting
890 jobs was not necessary".
The other three nationalised entities, Bankia, Catalunya
Banc and Novagalicia Banco - which is also known as NCG Banco -
must trim their balance sheets and cut staff as a condition of
European aid for Spain's banking sector.
Catalunya Banc and Novagalicia Banco are expected to be sold
early this year.
($1 = 0.7634 euros)
(Reporting by Andres Gonzalez and Clare Kane; Editing by Dan