The potential layoffs related to the possible divestment of Italian bank Monte dei Paschi (MPS) are likely to remain voluntary.

Reuters reported the development quoting the chief of Italy’s main banking union FABI Lando Maria Sileoni.

In an interview with a local radio, Sileoni said: “I don’t understand all the alarm on this topic.

“The banking sector has a fund to send people into early retirement up to seven years before they actually qualify for their pension: through this system 70,000 workers have opted to retire early [over the past decade], nobody has been fired.”

The Italian Government owns around 64% stake in MPS following a bailout in 2017.

Recently, UniCredit announced that it has started exclusive talks with the government to acquire parts of the lender. The two sides have 40 days to agree on a deal.

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The announcement triggered concerns that nearly one-third of MPS’ current 21,000 workers will be made redundant before a deal is finalised.

Sileoni further said that the government will have to take the responsibility for all early exits in MPS’ case as the current owner bears all cost of redundancies.

In such a case, the Italian Government may have to pay €1.4bn, if voluntary redundancies go up to 7,000.

MPS is one of the oldest banks in the world. Recently, it emerged as the worst performer in an EU-wide stress test.