BCR said that “it is possible that not all the branches will be in position to service their customers”.

The decision of FSI supervenes in the context in which the BCR CLA expired at the end of last year. In mid August 2008, BCR staff started a three-day protest.

“FSI representatives interrupted the negotiations immediately after the conciliation meeting refusing the dialog”, said BCR.

“We were truly astonished by the Trade Union’s approach, especially given that during almost two months when both teams were involved in the negotiation process the management formulated no less than six successive offers meant to grant BCR employees the appropriate remuneration package and to conclude the negotiations” BCR management stated.

The offers represented a commitment affordable by the Bank under current economic conditions and were made alongside management commitments to retain the current headcount in the bank at around the 8,700 level.

“BCR management made its sixth offer during the conciliation meeting held last week on Friday 09.01.2009 under the supervision of the legally appointed conciliator, offer which was rejected by the Trade Union representatives without any explanation or actual reasons for rejecting it”, representatives of the bank added.

Effectively BCR is offering “to maintain most of the rights in the CLA 2008, making clear that the Christmas and Vacation incentives are linked to the financial performance of the Bank” as “the bank is open to establish the performance criteria with the Union in order to ensure fairness and transparency. In addition, the bank “is fulfilling its commitment to make a salary rise to cover 50% of 2008 Inflation”.

The management of the bank considers that the reasons behind Trade Unions’ decision do not really justify taking an industrial action and will contest its legality in the Court. In the same time BCR management is considering the dialogue is still open.

According to the notification the bank’s management received today from the BCR Independent Trade Union Federation the action starts “considering the result of the conciliation procedure”, “the failure to reach an agreement regarding the CLA” and “considering the mandate given by the employees to the team that represented during the conciliation procedure.”

FSI representatives requested at conciliation that the terms of the 2008 CLA are maintained, with some amendments previously agreed upon with BCR management, as well as an additional increase of salaries by 3% on top of the increase representing 50% of the inflation rate in 2008.