Brazil bank workers vote to end strike, Caixa units hold out

Thu Sep 27, 2012 4:02am BST

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* Union workers plan to return to work Thursday

* Itau, Bradesco, Banco do Brasil workers ok pact

* Contract offers 7.5 percent wage increase, benefits

RIO DE JANEIRO, Sept 26 (Reuters) - Employees at all but one of B razil's banks v oted to approve a 7.5 percent wage increase and will return to work Thursday, ending a nine-day strike, the national bank workers' union confederation said in a statement on Wednesday.

Workers at state-owned Caixa Economica Federal in Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, the capital Brasilia and six other states turned down the latest proposal from Fenaban, the National Banking Federation, and will remain on strike, the union confederation said.

Unionized e mployees will return to work at state- run Banco do Brasil SA and all the country's non-state banks, including Banco Bradesco SA and Itau-Unibanco Holding SA, the local unit of Banco Santander SA.

The pay dispute coincided with a surge in loan delinquencies and loan-related losses for banks after a sharp slowdown in Brazil's once-booming economy.

The financial industry faces pressure from Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff to cut borrowing costs to help revive the economy.

"With mobilization and strikes, bank workers have won nine years of consecutive real increases in salary," said Carlos Cordeiro, president of the confederation, known as Contraf-CUT said.

Fenaban had originally offered a 6 percent raise, according to Contraf-CUT. T he union countered with a 10 percent increase. Si nce 2004, the average bank worker's wage, adjusted for inflation, has jumped 13.2 percent, whi le the min imum salary for unionized bank workers incr eased 36 percent.

Workers who approved the Fenaban offer will also receive a larger share of the banks' profits and a dditional support i f they are fo rced to leave their jobs for health reasons.

The banks also agreed to look at new security measures to protect employees and clients from robberies and to pay workers for the days they were out on strike.

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