SocGen’s Ivorian Unit Workers Seek Wage Boost After Profit Jump

Workers at Societe Generale SA’s unit in Ivory Coast, the biggest bank in the West African nation, are demanding higher wages after the lender posted a record profit, according to the head of the company.

The employees of Societe Generale des Banques en Cote d’Ivoire, or SGBCI, want a 100 percent raise by the end of August, Director-General Bernard Labadens said yesterday by phone. They’re threatening to strike if the demand isn’t met, he said.

SGBCI’s profit rose 46 percent last year to 23.3 billion CFA francs ($47.3 million) from 16 billion francs, the company said in June. The lender employs 1,200 people in Ivory Coast, the world’s biggest cocoa producer. The stock is the fifth-worst performer this month on the Abidjan-based Bourse Regionale des Valeurs Mobilieres, retreating 12 percent. The shares were unchanged at 610 francs by 1:57 p.m. in the city.

Operations haven’t been disrupted since workers made the demands earlier this month, Labadens said. The employees have demonstrated at the bank’s headquarters in Abidjan and have been speaking out on social-media networks, he said. A Facebook group called SGBCI Claims was established.

A spokeswoman for the employees, who don’t have a union, declined to comment, citing concerns about her job. Talks started a few days ago with an informal group representing the employees, Labadens said.

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