Early retirement at 56 years of age

How does Commerzbank get enough employees to “voluntarily” leave the company so that 9,000 jobs will be free in Germany by 2024? In any case, it will be even more expensive than expected.

The entrance to the Commerzbank headquarters

Dhe restructuring of Commerzbank will be even more expensive. For the reduction of 10,000 gross of almost 40,000 full-time positions in Germany and abroad by the end of 2024, Commerzbank is now planning a good 2 billion euros in costs, for example for severance payments, instead of the previous 1.8 billion euros. The cost increase of 225 million euros compared to the information from the beginning of February is due to a social plan that the management board agreed on Friday with the employee representatives for domestic employees. In this country, 9,000 jobs at Commerzbank AG, and thus even every third of 25,000 jobs, are to be cut.

30,000 euros “sprinter premium”

So that this downsizing is as “socially acceptable” as possible for the employees, the social plan provides for generous rules at first glance. What is new is the option of taking early retirement for seven years instead of the previous four years, i.e. all employees born in 1968 can, after an individual agreement with the bank, terminate their employment contract in 2024 at the age of 56 and receive them until When Commerzbank retires at the age of 63, according to information from the FAZ, 70 percent of their gross salary continues to be paid.

In order to lure employees into early retirement, Commerzbank pays a “sprinter bonus”, according to reports, 30,000 euros. In addition, there are programs for partial retirement for those born in 1965 and older, as well as a severance program for all employees who “voluntarily” leave the company at the age of 56 and older. “This money is well invested, because it increases our planning security when implementing the downsizing,” said Manfred Knof, who has been in office since January 1, 2021, about the additional expenses for the social plan, which are to be booked in the second quarter.

Ver.di takes a deep breath

For the ver.di union, the social plan means that a “transfer company off the table, operational dismissals de facto not possible”. The union is more concerned that “too many workers want to go too fast” and that the rest of the workforce is being overloaded. However, it is by no means certain that enough employees will accept the severance pay programs. The board of directors and employee representatives have agreed that the bank will “check the status of the agreed reduction in the first quarter of 2023”, as stated in a press release. Further steps that may then be required “include collective reductions in working hours and operational reductions as a last resort,” it continues.

Commerzbank had already completed a volunteer program in April 2021, with which it will vacate 1,700 positions by the end of 2021, and is spending 470 million euros on it. Here the “sprinter premium” was as much as 60,000 euros. Commerzbank wants to reduce its costs by 2024 by cutting jobs and closing 350 branches and 15 foreign bases from 6.7 to 5.3 billion euros a year.