ECB union calls strike

May 25, 2009

, FRANKFURT, May 25 – The European Central Bank said on Monday it was disappointed at a staff union\’s decision to call for the bank\’s first-ever strike a day before its June meeting to set interest rates.

The ECB\’s Ipso union has called on employees to go on a 90-minute warning strike on June 3, as a disagreement over recently proposed changes to workers\’ rights — mainly concerning pensions — intensified.

"The ECB\’s Governing Council… regrets the intention of staff representatives to call for a strike," said William Lelieveldt, an ECB spokesman.

"A framework is in place to guarantee that all essential tasks, which have to be performed by the ECB, are not affected," he said, adding that ageing populations meant changes to the bank\’s pension system were unavoidable.

In April, around a third of the ECB\’s 1,500-strong staff demonstrated outside the Eurotower — the ECB\’s Frankfurt headquarters — again to protest over pension reforms.

The ECB was set up just over 10 years ago as the central bank for the European common currency, the euro, which is now shared by 16 countries.

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