Scores of HSBC Jordan’s 350 employees continued their work stoppage on Thursday disrupting the bank’s operations. “A simple transaction takes at least one hour,” General Trade Union of Employees of Banks, Insurance and Auditing President Haydar Rasheed told The Jordan Times on Thursday. He said the bank staff will continue their protest against the management’s decision to terminate contracts of over 50 employees. The employees submitted a letter to the management asking for more benefits, according to Rasheed, but the bank did not approve the demands. He said the employees will not end their strike unless they receive guarantees that the management will not fire any of the workers and will deal with their demands positively. According to protesters, the bank terminated contracts of several of its employees as part of a “programmed” policy to reduce the number of its staff in Jordan. However, the bank said it has not yet announced any official decision regarding terminations, but has completed a restructuring programme for its operations in the Middle East, which will cover six countries, including Lebanon, Dubai and Iraq. In a statement issued earlier in the week, HSBC Jordan said it “deeply regrets the strike action”, and bank official noted that the employees began their work stoppage without giving the management prior notice. But employees insisted that the management was only trying to “buy time” through terminating the services of personnel gradually, an allegation the bank dismissed as baseless. Meanwhile, the bank’s branches in the Kingdom witnessed long queues of customers seeking assistance from a small number of staff still on duty, who reportedly told their striking colleagues that they will join them next week if the bank maintains its position towards their demands. This would escalate the situation further and leave no room for negotiations, according to Rasheed.