German employees of N26 are meeting today to set up a 'Works Council' amidst claims that trust and confidence in the digital bank's management are at an "all time low".
Earlier this month a group of N26 staffers released an open letter suggesting low morale at the bank, noting that an employee engagement survey yielded "disheartening" results.
In response, the employees have moved to take advantage of German law, which lets them create a Works Council, a tool designed to help protect, and advocate for, staffers.
According to local fintech site Finance Forward, N26's management has taken a number of steps to undermine the efforts.
In order to prevent meetings today and tomorrow to elect the Works Council board, the bank secured an injunction against the six original signatories of the meeting invitation, citing Covid-19-related safety concerns.
The staffers have circumvented this with the help of union ver.di, which is hosting the meetings in a bar.
But, says Finance Forward, N26's founders, Valentin Stalf and Maximilian Tayenthal, have also quickly scheduled a company-wide meeting for today to discuss an "alternative employee representation' plan.
The founders have further piled on the pressure through an email to staff in which they say a Works Council would be "against almost all values that we believe in at N26".
Continues the email: "Drive: It [a council] slows us down. Simplicity: It makes our collaboration more complex and hierarchical. Integrity: It undermines a culture of trust and could lead to increased levels of confrontation. Excellence: It is not a contemporary instrument of employee engagement and limits personal career development and impact."