BoSI strike averted as management wins debt contract
Published 14/10/2010 | 05:00
IMMINENT strike action at Bank of Scotland (Ireland) has been averted after the bank's staff were given details of the new 'service company' they'll soon be transferring to.
The news came less than 24 hours after trade union Unite announced that 94pc of its members had voted for strike action in protest at the way BoSI's withdrawal from Ireland was being handled.
A "day of inaction", which would see BoSI's workers refuse to use telephones and computers, was then pencilled in for next Wednesday with further "escalations" also threatened.
In a statement last night Unite confirmed that the action was being "deferred" to allow for "meaningful negotiations" with the service company.
"We retain the mandate for action and will bring this to the negotiating table," said union official Brian Gallagher, adding that he hoped workers would "be given a full and clear picture of the way in which the bank will fulfil its obligations".
BoSI announced its full withdrawal from the Irish market in mid-August, and told its 850 staff that most of them would be transferred to a company charged with collecting on the bank's €32bn loan book.
In a statement, BoSI's UK parent Lloyds Banking Group said the service-company contract had been won "after a competitive process" by BoSI's management team, led by chief executive Joe Higgins.
A spokesman for the bank declined to say how many other groups pitched. Mr Higgins could not be reached.
As well as blaming the bank's "refusal to engage" for this week's strike vote, Unite also listed a set of demands which had not been met. The workers want a 49.9pc share of the new service company, and they want to remain "seconded" employees of Lloyds so they won't lose out on pension benefits. Unite also wants "better" redundancy terms for the 36 staff who are set to leave BoSI imminently.