Saturday 19 August 2017

Crisis will cost up to 10,000 bank positions, says union

Anne-Marie Walsh and Patricia McDonagh

A major finance union has claimed up to 10,000 jobs are at risk in the banking sector.

The Irish Bank Officials' Association said there was nothing to suggest that its prediction was overly pessimistic.

It was speaking following the announcement of 750 job losses at Bank of Scotland Ireland (BoSI), which has raised fears that thousands more redundancies may soon decimate the sector.

The union yesterday urged the Tanaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Mary Coughlan, to convene an emergency summit on the jobs crisis in the finance sector.

"Last year, I warned that up to 10,000 jobs could be at risk in the Irish financial services sector as a result of the current crisis," said general secretary Larry Broderick.

"I have seen no evidence in the meantime to suggest that this estimate is unrealistic."

He said the non-replacement of staff and non-renewal of temporary contracts in the last 16 months had led to more than 4,000 job losses.

This was in addition to 1,000 redundancies announced at Ulster Bank last year and 150 job losses announced by National Irish Bank before Christmas.

Together with the Bank of Scotland redundancies, he said there had been around 6,000 job losses before the consolidation that is expected at the main financial institutions over the next few months begins.

Mr Broderick said the major stakeholders in the financial sector including management and unions at domestic and foreign-owned institutions should urgently attend a summit.

"The national interest demands that the Government should engage on this issue not only to safeguard the economy -- but also to minimise the social impact of such a serious haemorrhage of jobs," he said.

"We need to be reassured that any further reconfiguration of the financial services sector is properly co-ordinated with broad agreement in advance on the final shape of the industry -- rather than arriving at unintended outcomes which not only have negative consequences for the institutions, themselves, but also for the economy as a whole."

Responsible

He said hardly any of the bank workers who had lost their jobs were responsible for the economic crisis.

Meanwhile, it has emerged that the Government knew BoSI was planning to close its branch network ahead of Tuesday's official announcement.

Tanaiste Mary Coughlan yesterday admitted Department of Finance officials had been locked in discussions with the bank to find an alternative to its plan to shed jobs.

The comments came just hours after Ms Coughlan and Taoiseach Brian Cowen attempted to dodge questions about how long they had been aware of the decision.

Both said they had only been "officially" notified about the 750 job cuts on Tuesday.

Irish Independent

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