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SocGen's voluntary redundancies are heavily oversubscribed - again

It's happened again. Seven years ago, when SocGen waved its notoriously generous voluntary redundancy packages around its French offices, it received 2,200 applications from people who fancied taking the money and going, even though it only wanted to let 880 people go. This year's similarly generous packages seem to have been greeted with equal enthusiasm.

Philippe Fournil, national delegate of French Union, CGT SG, says that 640 of the 706 voluntary redundancy places available at SocGen in France have already been filled. French employees at the bank were clearly not slow in coming forward. - The voluntary redundancy programme only opened in July and doesn't close until early next year. SocGen insiders confirm the enthusiasm. One engineer on an equity derivatives desk said there were four voluntary redundancy positions open in his team, but that at least eight people applied for them. 

More surprising is the fact that SocGen staff seem to want to leave even when voluntary redundancy isn't officially on offer. Fournil said another 300 employees who aren't covered by the voluntary redundancy plan have also asked to leave and are trying to negotiate an exit. It's not clear whether they are being allowed to go or not.

The rush of applications for SocGen's voluntary redundancy plan is not entirely surprising given the structure of the bank's deal. SocGen has been offering one month's pay per six month's service, capped at 30 months' salary (ie 15 years' service). Pay is defined as salary plus a fraction of the bonus awarded for the year 2016-2017. 

However, the voluntary redundancy packages on offer become increasingly less generous as time progresses. - By December, for example. SocGen will only be offering 60% of pay for every six months worked, and the package will be capped at two years' pay in total.

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AUTHORThierry Iochem France Editor

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