AIB chief says planned 2,000 lay-offs will kick in from October
AIB hopes to finally begin its 2,000-strong redundancy programme in October and will soon "normalise" promotion opportunities for workers who stay at the bank, executive chairman David Hodgkinson has said.
The comments, in an e-mail from Mr Hodgkinson to all AIB staff, come amid a continuing stand-off with workers' union the Irish Bank Officials Association (IBOA), which last night said it was "surprised" at the bank boss's statement.
AIB first revealed plans to axe 2,000 jobs in mid-April, but no further details have been given on the areas to be targeted by the cuts or the packages that will be on offer.
In his latest staff bulletin sent on Friday, Mr Hodgkinson said it was "frustrating for all of us" that there was as yet no clarity on severance packages.
AIB, which last week revealed that it would soon be 99.8pc owned by the State, has been in talks with the Department of Finance about severance packages for a "considerable period", Mr Hodgkinson said.
As previously revealed by the Irish Independent, the department failed to approve AIB's initial proposals to offer staff the "industry norm" of six weeks' salary plus two weeks' statutory payment per year of service.
Failure to reach agreement with the department has frustrated negotiations with the IBOA, which has now referred the situation to the Labour Relations Commission for discussions on July 19. "On the basis that we reach agreement soon on the terms of the severance programme, our target is to phase redundancies over a 15-month period beginning in October 2011 through December 2012," Mr Hodgkinson said.
Staff would be given details on the "timing and scheduling" of the first wave of cuts in September, Mr Hodgkinson added, promising that everyone would be informed of the situation "well in advance of their leaving date".
Asked whether the October time frame was "realistic", IBOA boss Larry Broderick last night said it was "very difficult" for him to say until he knew more about the proposals.
"We were surprised at that email since the content hadn't been discussed with us," Mr Broderick said, adding that he had written to Mr Hodgkinson yesterday to request clarifications on several points raised.
The trade union chief also stressed that while the latest email from Mr Hodgkinson said redundancies would be on a voluntary basis "as far as possible", that commitment fell short of the IBOA's demands.
Mr Hodgkinson's latest email also included a commitment to focus on "normalising promotion opportunities".
"A large number of people have stepped up over the past two years to fill more senior level vacancies and we will progressively recognise this in as fair a way as possible," he added.
Mr Broderick said he would be seeking clarification on how many promotions would be on offer and in what areas they would be.