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Santander in talks with over 200 Portugal staff hit by job cuts


© Reuters. FILE PHOTO A man strolls outside Santander Totta’s headquarters in Lisbon, Portugal on February 21 2017. REUTERS/Rafael Marchante/File Photo

MADRID (Reuters) – Spain’s Santander (MC:) is in negotiations with about 210 employees in Portugal as part of a wider cost-cutting plan that affects 11% of its workforce there, a source with knowledge of the matter said.

European lenders are trying to reduce costs after being hit by high interest rates and customers shifting towards online banking.

According to Reuters’ June internal memo, the bank offered early retirement to those over 55 years old and a pay package that reflected their time service.

According to the source, 475 of the 685 employees who were affected by the cost-cutting program had agreed with the bank’s terms. The bank is now in discussions with all the others.

Santander responded to a request to comment on Monday. It stated that it was trying to come to an agreement with employees regarding the departure of 6,049 staff in Portugal at the end June.

The banking company reached an agreement in December with the unions to cut off 3,572 Spanish employees as part of its cost-cutting program. This represents around 12% of its total workforce in Spain.

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