The International Workers' Association against Bank Santander

The past Thursday, December 12, the Santander Bank, Isban and Panel Systems had to face an impressive mobilization of workers united amongst equals. The Sections of the International Workers' Association, the anarchosyndicalist international, supported the call for solidarity from the workers in conflict.

Dozens of actions took place against the stupified companies which are complicit in the trafficking of the workforce.

Overcoming the absurd frontiers that divide the planet, the message of the Isban workers in struggle was distributed in 12 different languages (Spanish, Catalan, Basque, Galician, English, Chinese, Russian, French, Portuguese, Polish, Norweigan and Slovak).

In Portugal, the Portuguese Section of the IWA organized various pickets. In the center of Oporto bank Santander Totta was visited.
Also in Lisbon the AIT-SP mobilized in solidarity with the ISBAN workers.

In Poland, members of the ZSP visited various branches of Santander Consumer Bank in Warsaw. They distributed leaflets to clients and passersby, informing them about the precarious situation of the subcontracted workers and the dismissal of the delegate of the CNT-AIT in Isban for his union action.
When the branches closed, they finished the protest and put up posters on their windows.

In Argentina, members of FORA-AIT concentrated their efforts in the city of Buenos Aires. There they developed numerous actions at the most important brances of Santander Río bank.

In Norway, the NSF-IAA gave out leaflets, which were well received by the people of Oslo, who were interested in knowing the details of the union conflict.

In Bath, members of Bristol SolFed organized a demonstration outside of a local Santander Bank.

KRAS from Russia and Priama Akcia from Slovakia, which are in places where Santander Bank have no presence, sent letters to the heads of the companies. In such a way, they expressed their solidarity with the struggle and demanding an end to the outsourcing and reinstatement of the dismissed comrade from Isban. Faxes and emails were sent to the headquarters in Spain and to the Czech Republic.

Also in France anarchosyndicalists sent letters since there were no branches in their area.

In the US, activists made a picket for 2 hours at the branch of Santander Bank in the center of Philadelphia, with a banner and black and red flags. Due to the cold and the opposition from the branch management, who sent private security on them to chase them away, they made their protest near the bank, which few clients entered.

In addition, emails were sent to Emilio Botín, Isban, Banco Santander and Panel Sistemas from all over the world, demanding the reinstatement of the dismissed comrade.

In Spain, the CNT organized actions. In Madrid there was a protest at the central headquarters of the bank. The anarchosyndicalists shouted for the reinstatement of their comrade, More than 500 leaflets were distributed to clients and passersby that were interested in the conflict.
In the afternoon, a new solidarity action took place at the offices of Isban, where the comrade workers until he was dismissed for union activity. The reaction of the workers of Isban was different: the strikebreakers and other creeps did not take any leaflets while others were happy about the success of the direct action.

Security guards forceably removed the protesters, who continued to protest at the entrance of the business park. Over 400 more leaflets were distributed. The local and national police, at the request of the private security, moved to the place without taking any data from anybody or being interested in what happend.
As usual, a couple of managers from the company invigilated the protest.

During the protest, a banner was put up on one of the entrances to the offices that said "No to illegal outsourcing in Banco Santander. Reinstatement of the dismissed comrade. CNT Isban".

The doors to the offices of Panel Systems, the subcontractor for the bank, where the worker who was fired from Isban was sent from, was covered with informational leaflets.

A new banner covered the workplace of the dismissed comrade. The director of „human resources” of the subcontractor ordered that the propaganda be removed and was taking photos of the comrade. When they could not remove was his clothes: on his T-Shirt he had a message against outsourcing and the logo of the AIT-IWA.

Also in the Spanish capital, hundreds of leaflets were distributed in the central plaza of Tirso de Molina,where various unions of the CNT-AIT have their headquarters.

In Rivas, where there is a confederal cell, the bank's branches were decorated for the occasion.

The group in Fuenlabrada also answered to the call for solidarity and organized a protest at a branch in their town.

Outside of the Madrid area, the shows of solidarity were received from the early morning, in the form of creative decorations of bank branches like in Sabadell in the province of Barcelona.

In Salamanca the anarchosyndicalists went to the heavily populated Garrido neighbourhood with a protest. The Director and the employees were informed about the conflict by activists from the union while the rest of the comrades protested as people around watched curiously.

In the city of Santander, the CNTistas protested again at the central office of the bank. They entered into the bank to inform the clients and workers about their protest and where kicked out. Outside they protested for hours, annoying the managers of the bank who were keeping an eye on the protest and the distribution of leaflets.

In Donostia, the CNT from Gipuzkoa picketed all afternoon, protested at three different branches of Santander Bank. The reception of the people superceded all expectations, with hundreds of leaflets distributed. In Amara they organized a strange „anarchist competition” in which passersby knocked down cans with photos of politicians and bankers with a lot of rage.

The CNT Granada protested for an hour and a half in front of the central seat of Banco Santander on the Gran Vía in the Andalucian city. Some comrades entered the branch to inform the workers about the conflict.

The anarchosyndicalists of Zaragoza chosen to make a protest in Coso St. in the afternoon. They distributed more than 300 leaflets about the conflict.

In Aranda de Duero, militants from the CNT shouted at the entrance to another branch and took pains to leave a clear message on the facade of the building.

The CNT Vall d'Albaida chose Ontinyent for the action, where they protested starting at 11AM.

Also in Sagunt you could see signs of solidarity made by the CNT.

In Asturias, the CNT of Gijón visited the central offices of Banco Santander in solidarity with the workers of Isban.

In Navarra, CNT Iruña also took to the streets against Banco Santander, Isban and Panel Sistemas.

In La Rioja, the confederal cell from Arnedo and Calahorra moved to both locations, where they received good reception on the part of the workers and clients of the bank.

CNT Pontevedra organized an informational action in Vilagarcía de Arousa.

Also in places such as Motril, anarchosyndicalists demonstrated their solidarity in this international day of coordinated actions.

As we are writing this article on Sunday, December 15, we keep receiving shows of solidarity from very different places.
Confederal and International Mobilization

The CNT and the IWA maintain that this was an unfair dismissal by Isban to repress union activity and they demand the delegate be reinstated in Isban and be recognized as part of its staff, as well as demanding an end to the trafficking of staff between companies.

The strength of solidarity has proved overwhelming. Various locations know firsthand about the irregularities committed by the bank in its workplaces, like the detestable anti-worker practices of this giant multinational: constantly evicting families, selling junk mortgages and subprime loans, tax evasion, charging abusive interest, distruction of historic patrimony, financing arms and the penitenciary system...

In Spain, dozens of revolutionary unions went out to protest against Banco Santander, Isban and Panel Sistemas in places such as Salamanca, Ciudad Rodrigo, Barcelona, Madrid, Rivas, Villaverde, Zaragoza, Málaga, León, Valladolid, Zamora, Teruel, Tarragona, Gipuzkoa, Compostela, Gijón, Alicante, Jaén, Cádiz, Aranjuez, Santander, A Coruña, Jerez, Oviedo, Guadalajara, Pilar de la Horadada, Tarragona, Aranda de Duero, Candás, Granada, Toledo, Vigo, Pineda de Mar, La Costera, Vall d'Albaida, Pontevedra, Sabadell, Motril, Arnedo, Iruña, Sagunt, Elche...
Around the world, anarchist unions of the IWA-AIT have showed their solidarity with the workers in conflict since last September, organizing different actions in support. COB from Brazil, ZSP from Poland, NSF from Norway, KRAS from Russia, FAU from Germany, Solidarity Federation from Great Britain, the Portuguese Section of the IWA, Priama Akcia from Slovakia, FORA from Argentina, anarchosyndicalists from France, Uruguay, China and the United States have organized various actions against the interests of the bank to support this struggle.

Panel Systems: Hyprocrisy and Contempt for the Workers

Panel Systems is a medium sized company whose employees are having difficult times. They profit from the illegal assignment of workers who are sent to powerful clients like Isban (Santander Group).

Despite having huge profits of more than 307.000 euros in 2012, Panel Systems is undergoing a process of wage cuts and mass undeclared layoffs. In the last few months, more than 40 workers have been fired. They always fired just under the limit that would require them to start a group redundancy plan. The staff of 440 employees in 2012 is now down to 394. Others had to accept a „voluntary” wage cut.

The numerous dismissals are presented as „targets” due to production reasons, without taking into account that the firm is doing perfectly well.

Also, company directors seem not to know the real numbers well and attribute the falsification of accounts to other directors which have been fired in what appears to be a power struggle for control of the company.

During the year, Panel Systems illegally assigned our comrade to Isban (Santander Group). When the union was established and both companies were informed, the delegate was immediately informed that „the project has changed” and he was sent back to Panel Systems.

After 3 months working at Panel Systems, the comrade fired from Isban still had not participated in any productive work that is appropriate for his skills.

Also he suffers constant harrassment from the management, accusing him of underperformace, because of not informing him of some tasks and they refuse to have a meeting with the union to find a solution to the conflict.

Isban: Misery, exploitation and fear

Isban, a company belonging to the all-powerful Santander Group managed by Emilio Botín, maintain a structure of firms that act as Temporary Work Agencies and provide cheap and precarious staff.

More than 10,000 workers around the world are illegally assigned to Isban. So to dismiss anybody, it is enough to call the „Temporary Agency”. Without any cost to the bank, of course, since, according to them, these are not dismissals but „project changes” in the assigning company, which normally decides to fire the worker or assign him or her to another „client”.

This practice saves millions a year on contracts and dismissals and also keeps dozens of businesses submitted to their will. All obey the managers since they cannot lose such a profitable „client”. Some assign 100% of their workers to the bank, creating a mafia network of illegal subcontracting.

The climate of fear and helplessness that the workers of Isban live in is absolute. They are afraid to wind up in the streets at the slightest protest. This facilitates the acceptance of surreal workloads, overtime and obligatory transfers, half-time work, categories and salaries below the functions performed and other abuses.

Santander Group: Greed, corruption and plundering

In the last few months there have been hundreds of irregular dismissals in the Santander Group, in what the employees have denounced as a hidden redundancy plan. The IT services in the offices of Isban and Santander Backoffices (SBGM) have seen cuts in personnel of up to 50% in recent months. Those chosen to be dismissed have been less profitable and less protected workers. The outside personnel (workers illegally assigned), mothers with a reduced working day and workers sent abroad have been the preferred targets of the cuts. With the help of the government and the yellow unions, the mass destruction of work places has been practically free for Santander.

And all this despite the fact tha Santander Group has not only got no loses, but had 2,255,000,000 euros profit in the first six months of 2013, almost 30% higher than in the same period of 2012. A tremendously hypocritical attitude which clases with the public image of the group which can boast of listing the country thanks to confidence in people and the future. They would be referring to the billionaires that are leading us to unemployment and misery.

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