Whenever a bank wobbles, a state is on the brink of collapse or the markets are in turmoil, the central bankers have to act – and as quickly as possible. Round-the-clock emergency, weekend included.
The ongoing crisis has drained staff, warns the international and european public services organization (IPSO) – and sends a cry for help across the euro area that is also a threat: "the ECB does not have enough staff to carry out its current tasks. Not to mention future tasks that are becoming increasingly important."A survey of 715 staff members indicates a serious potential risk to the ECB’s day-to-day operations.
In a letter to central bank president mario draghi, euro rescuers are now calling for their own bailout. The international workforce must be significantly increased, the union demands: "we believe the role of the ECB deserves and needs adequate staffing."
The ECB’s executive board says it is aware of the enormous workload it currently faces: "we are currently considering whether to apply to the ECB’s governing council for a staff increase."
IPSO president marius mager calls for speed: "we have an enormous workload in the house. The situation is untenable."Employees were missing at every corner and end, and on top of that, new colleagues had to be trained all the time because of the many changes: "this puts the permanent employees under enormous pressure."
In the IPSO survey, more than 80 percent complain about high workloads. Three out of four employees say they regularly work overtime – mostly without compensation. Some ECB staff members fear serious consequences for health and private life.
After the experience of the past few years, in which the ECB constantly conjured up new crisis instruments from its cupboard, kept money markets from drying up, kept governments afloat with bond purchases and flooded banks with billions of cheap money, employee representatives have become cautious: "we were very buried a clear commitment that new hires would be used to lighten the load of colleagues already overworked today – not to cover new tasks assigned to the ECB," reads the letter to draghi.
Additional jobs had to be created for additional tasks, demands the IPSO trade union, to which 43 percent of ECB staff belong, according to its own information. Colleagues have already been permanently withdrawn to monitor reform progress in the euro crisis countries together with representatives of the EU commission and the international monetary fund (IMF).
And the next mammoth task for the central bank is already on the doorstep: europe’s politicians are planning a uniform banking supervision "involving" the ECB. What exactly this means for the central bank is still unclear. Overtime is not out of the question.