Thursday 23 March 2017

'Landmark' deal lifts strike threat at Halifax

Anne-Marie Walsh

THE threat of a strike at closing Halifax branches has lifted following the brokering of a "landmark" redundancy deal for 750 axed staff.

Workers who will lose their jobs from June will start balloting on the terms of an agreement between their employer, Bank of Scotland Ireland and their union Unite tomorrow.

Last night, Unite said the threat of strike action had been withdrawn pending the outcome of the ballot.

It said the "landmark" redundancy package meant the majority of its members would leave with the equivalent of at least nine months' salary.

This is made up of a payment of seven-and-a-quarter weeks' pay per year of service. Regardless of length of service, all workers are guaranteed a minimum of 26 weeks' pay, with a maximum payment of 143 weeks.

In addition, staff will receive a lump-sum retraining payment of €3,000 per year of service, with a four-year cap, and a bonus for those who stay until they are made redundant.

The package will be available to workers in the Halifax retail network, customer service centre in Dundalk and head office.

It was agreed yesterday following the resumption of talks that had previously broken down.

Discussions have been under way since the bank announced it was closing the branch network last month with 750 job losses out of 1,600.

"We have agreed a package which recognises the short service of many of the staff affected by this first-ever closure of a retail bank in Ireland," said Unite Regional Officer Brian Gallagher.

"The average payout for our members will be between 12 and 16 weeks per year of service, and the majority will leave with the equivalent of at least nine months' salary."

Irish Independent

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