High-street bank Fortis announces "reorganisation"

The French-Belgian banking group BNP Paribas Fortis has announced a "reorganisation" to trades unions. There will be no new redundancies, but a whole range of other, smaller measures will be implemented.

30 to 40 smaller offices will be closed to cut spending, while another 30 to 40 would go into franchise. Clients will also have to pay more for certain services.

Staff may not be facing extra lay-offs, but any wage increase will be kept to a strict minimum. At the same time, new vacancies that had been planned, will be halved, trades unions told the press after two days of negotiating with the management.

The austerity measures come as less cash is coming in, mostly because of low interest rates, the bank explained. Belgium's Fortis bank was taken over by the French group BNP Paribas during the financial crisis.