Exclusive: ECB union says staff losing faith in leadership over inflation, pay

Exclusive: ECB union says staff losing faith in leadership over inflation, pay

  • 40% of ECB staff has low or no belief
  • Two-thirds say confidence is broken
  • 63% apprehensive about ECB’s means to guard buying energy

FRANKFURT, Jan 18 (Reuters) – European Central Bank staff are losing confidence in the establishment’s leadership following the ECB’s failure to regulate inflation and a pay award that lagged the leap in costs, based on a survey by commerce union IPSO.

The responses underline that even central banks, whose major accountability is preventing inflation, usually are not resistant to staff dissatisfaction with the sharply rising value of residing.

The survey was organised in the context of a dispute between IPSO, which holds six out of 9 seats on the ECB’s staff committee, and the central financial institution’s board over pay and remote-working preparations.

An ECB spokesperson didn’t remark instantly on IPSO’s findings when requested however pointed to a separate staff survey, run by the ECB itself final yr, exhibiting that 83% of practically 3,000 respondents have been proud to work for the ECB and 72% would suggest it.

Results of IPSO’s survey, which largely centered on pay and remote-working preparations but in addition included questions on belief in the board, have been despatched to ECB staff on Tuesday in an electronic mail, seen by Reuters.

They confirmed two-thirds of roughly 1,600 respondents mentioned their belief in Lagarde and the remainder of the six-member ECB board had been broken by latest developments comparable to excessive inflation and a pay enhance that didn’t match the rise in costs.

Asked how a lot belief they’d in Lagarde and the board with regards to main and managing the ECB, the central financial institution for the 20 international locations that use the euro, just below half of respondents mentioned “average” (34.3%) or “excessive” (14.6%).

But over 40% of respondents mentioned they’d “low” (28.6%) or “no” (12%) belief, whereas 10.5% couldn’t say.

“This is a severe concern for our establishment, as nobody can appropriately lead an organisation with out the belief of its workforce,” the union mentioned in its electronic mail.


The survey was the primary by IPSO to ask about belief in high administration since Christine Lagarde took over as ECB President in late 2019.

An identical IPSO survey of ECB staff, taken simply earlier than her predecessor Mario Draghi stepped down, confirmed 54.5% of 735 respondents rated his presidency “superb” or “excellent”, with assist for his coverage measures even larger.

Then, nevertheless, inflation in the euro zone had been low for a decade. Its latest surge to multi-decade highs in international locations world wide has seen a revival in battles over pay between staff and the businesses and establishments that make use of them.

And a majority of respondents in the October 2019 survey additionally complained a couple of lack of transparency in recruitment and perceived favouritism below Draghi.

The most up-to-date Bank of England staff survey, additionally carried out in 2019, confirmed 64% of respondents had “belief and confidence in the Bank’s leadership”.

A 2022 U.S. authorities survey of workers at departments and federal companies discovered that 61% of respondents had “a excessive degree of respect” for his or her organisation’s senior leaders – roughly secure in comparison with the earlier two years.

The ECB spokesperson additionally pointed to inside surveys in 2020-21 that discovered roughly 80% of respondents have been glad with health-and-safety measures taken by the ECB in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

The newest IPSO survey confirmed 63% of staff who responded have been apprehensive in regards to the ECB’s means to guard their buying energy after being handed a pay enhance of simply 4% final yr – or roughly half the rise in shopper costs.

The ECB has been criticised by politicians, bankers and teachers for initially underestimating a surge in the price of residing after which making up for it with massive and painful will increase in borrowing prices.

Lagarde, who just isn’t an economist and had not been a central banker earlier than becoming a member of the ECB, colourfully defended her board at an occasion with staff final month.

“If it wasn’t for them I’d be a tragic, lonely cowgirl misplaced someplace in the Pampa of financial coverage,” Lagarde mentioned, based on a recording of the Dec. 19 city corridor seen by Reuters.

She and fellow board members have lengthy apprehensive in regards to the danger of a possible “wage-price spiral”, the place larger salaries feed into costs, which they argue would make it tougher for the ECB to convey inflation again right down to its 2% goal.

But IPSO mentioned that concern is misplaced and staff shouldn’t be made to bear the brunt of the present bout in inflation.

“The ECB is likely to be preaching decrease actual wages, however this isn’t our stance as your staff union,” it wrote in its message to ECB workers.

Editing by Catherine Evans

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