German bank merger puts 30,000 jobs on the line

20th March, 2019 11:20:09 printer

BERLIN: Every day on my way to work, I pass a branch of Deutsche Bank and a Commerzbank outlet located almost exactly opposite each other on different sides of the street.

One of them will probably close if the government-backed merger talks between the two lenders come to fruition –but I doubt the companies are up to making the massive job cuts the combination would require, report agencies.

Economy Minister Peter Altmaier and Finance Minister Olaf Scholz are eager to see a banking national champion emerge to support a new, muscular industrial policy that seeks to ensure German and European companies are competitive against their Chinese and US rivals.

But ensuring such a champion is not just big but also efficient would require massive job cuts: Investors and analysts have bandied around the figure of 30,000 out of a combined workforce of about 141,000.

Bloomberg News reports that Mr Scholz, a Social Democrat, has agreed not to oppose the cuts – but his centre-left party, now fighting for survival after devastating election losses, is unlikely to take kindly to an employment bloodbath that already has key labour unions up in arms.