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Uruguayan public banks suspend extended hours as labor negotiations drag on

Uruguay'spublic banks will no longer offer extended opening hours as collective bargainingnegotiations with the national banking union, AEBU, have stalled over salary demands,AEBU said in a July 6 statement on its website.

The measurewill extend at least until July 12, AEBU said.

The banks,including Banco de la República Orientaldel Uruguay, will only attend to customers on a daily basis for thesix and a half hours required under their existing labor agreement, the statementnoted.

In aJuly 6 interview with Radio Camacuá, Álvaro Pévere, the head of AEBU's OfficialBanking Council, said the government has not agreed to the union's salary demandsas part of a new labor platform proposed in May.

Anotherconcern for the union is the privatization of certain services such as cleaningand security, Pévere noted.

"It'scheaper for the banks to work with private companies, but this takes jobs away fromthe banks and the vacancies are not filled," he said.

"Banksare investing in new technology … in the Internet and smartphones, but people arealso important," he added.

AEBUsaid it would launch a campaign in the media to denounce high bank profits whilejob conditions and customer service at public banks continues to worsen.

AEBUis set to hold a press conference July 11 to provide an update on the state of negotiations.