Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Phibro: Just Say No

Citigroup is caught between a rock and a hard place, which should not be too difficult to diffuse. The U.S. Treasuty has imposed some pretty clear regulations for the recipients of bailout dollars...which are grating against a bunch of disgruntled Citi employees who have grown accustomed to big bonuses as incentives.

Workers in Citi's a very profitable Phibro energy trading department are threatening to leave if they aren’t given their extra cash.
Let them go.
Just say no.

Phibro is described by the Wall Street Journal as “a legendary energy trading unit” that has earned the bank millions of dollars. Citi wants special permission from the Treasury Dept. to allow bonuses for Phibro, while also seeking an easing of restrictions on bonuses for other employees.

Because nearly a third of Citi will soon be owned by the government (you and me), the bank is now concerned that its employees will jump ship to other banks that face less severe pay restrictions.

Somebody call a waaaambulance.
How about just saying no?

What does it take to alter the consciousness—the core culture—of places like Citi, which apparently is still populated with people who do not have a clue about how the rest of the country is operating? After all of the financial gloom, despair, and agony—even a very public Presidential tongue-lashing…how is it that a group of greedy energy traders still think they are above it all, are entitled to be better than the rest, and still think they’re deserving of a bonus?

This gets down to the fundamentals of work and compensation and being paid a fair wage for a day’s work. This taps the core values of American white collar worker mentality—which must change if this nation is to survive. How is it there is still some confusion over the concept of being paid an agreed upon salary, which may contain incentives to perform---and the unrealistic notion that one can hold hostage an employer with the threat of walking out?

Do the Phibro traders feel they’re more-equal than everyone else? Are the Phibronauts betting that since they’re one of the few profitable units at Citi they can behave like Somali Pirates, and hijack the unit until their outrageous pay demands are met?

Memo to the VP in Charge of Phibro: Just say nyet.
And tell them to not let the door smack them on their greedy backsides on their way out of the building.

Unemployment is at 8.5%--there are thousands of people in New York with as much snap to do the work, and a lot more incentive to perform for a pay check than these ingrates.

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