UNI: the price tag on intervention

There has to be a price tag on the huge amounts of taxpayers money being invested in salvaging the world’s financial markets to force tough changes on the industry, said UNI global union today.

A meeting of finance trade unions from across Europe has called for tougher regulations and greater transparency - and curbs on aggressive sales targets imposed on staff, often as part of payment systems.

They want governments, central banks and regulators to recognise that the current business model of the industry has failed and to ensure far-reaching changes.

“Greed and recklessness is at the root of what has become a worldwide financial disaster,” said UNI General Secretary Philip Jennings.

“Politicians and central banks are bailing out the very people who wanted small government and whose unregulated excesses brought global instability that will cost of hundreds of thousands of jobs.
“We want to go back to sound banking values, business ethics and responsible government.

“We need more regulation, not less.

“We also want radical changes in working methods to ensure employment packages that fully recognise the interests of customers and the ability of staff to serve them.

“We want an end to a scorched earth policy of maximising profits for short term investors and top executives.”

Finance unions are calling for effective regulation, long-term investment and sustainable growth.

Transparency must be built into product design and market functioning and companies that embrace risk must make this clear - to themselves, investors and regulators.

They warn that one of the by-products of the crisis is a merger rush by smaller or threatened institutions - creating more financial giants that will be too big or important to fail in the next crisis.
For ordinary finance workers the culture of profit at all costs has led to excessive workloads and forced them to put the long-term interests of customers second to aggressive sales targets.
Even now, report finance unions, some financial institutions are reacting to the business slump by pushing up sales targets for staff - trying to combat a failure in the system by the same instruments that brought about the crisis.

“The primary purpose of a bank or insurance company is to provide a good service, good jobs and sustainable returns to shareholders,” said Philip Jennings. “Each and every institution has a responsibility to society at large - nationally and globally. We want the finance industry to be embedded in the real economy.”