Expressing its respect for all trade unions across the world, HSBC Jordan on Tuesday said it will not negotiate with any party except its employees in connection with their ongoing strike.
Two days ago, the bank's employees started an open-ended work stoppage to protest against what they descried as "policy from abroad of firing employees".
The General Trade Union of Employees of Banks, Insurance and Auditing spearheaded the protest and published advertisements in local dailies yesterday, calling on their colleagues in other banks in Jordan to support them.
In a statement issued yesterday, HSBC Jordan said it "deeply regrets the strike action", and "respects and recognises trade unions all over the world, and their right to represent staff views", but stressed that it “received no communication and no demands from the trade union in this case".
Noting that it first learned of the strike through the media, HSBC management urged its employees to select representatives so it can understand their demands.
According to protesters, the bank terminated contracts of several of its employees as part of a "programmed" policy to reduce the number of its staff in Jordan, currently standing at 350 employees.
However, the bank said it has not yet announced any official decision regarding terminations, but has completed a restructuring programme for its operations in the Middle East, which will cover six countries, including Lebanon, Dubai and Iraq.
In addition, the employees began their strike without giving the management prior notice, a bank official said yesterday.
But employees insisted that the management was only trying to "buy time" through terminating the services of personnel gradually, an allegation the bank dismissed as baseless.
Although HSBC Jordan stressed that four of its branches in the Kingdom are open to serve the customers, the bank main branches in Jabal Hussein and the Fifth Circle witnessed long queues of customers seeking assistance from a small number of staff still on duty.
According to a bank employee, most of the personnel on duty are managers who are trying to fill the gap and avoid any inconvenience to clients.
Some of the bank's customers interviewed by The Jordan Times yesterday said they are worried about the HSBC operations in Jordan, and expressed anger about delays in transactions and other banking services.
However, in yesterday's statement the bank stressed that "our concern now is to maintain business as usual for our customers, and to respect the rights of our staff".