MORE than 1,000 former Anglo Irish and Irish Nationwide bank employees have been told their jobs are effectively gone and they are to receive only statutory redundancy payments.
The 800 staff at IBRC in Ireland and a further 200 located in Belfast and London were informed by email at noon yesterday that they are to be kept on, on monthly rolling contracts, while the most complex liquidation in the history of the State takes place.
Given the size of that task, it could be months before the workers find themselves out of a job. And while they were aware the company would eventually shut down, the abrupt nature of the liquidation announcement caught them by surprise.
Many employees had already gone home and only learned through news programmes, social media and texts that a liquidator had been appointed to the bank on Wednesday evening.
Confusion, devastation and anger were some of the emotions expressed by those who arrived at work, uncertain what the day would bring, according to a spokesman for the Irish Bank Officials Association (IBOA).
IBOA General Secretary Larry Broderick criticised as "opportunism at the highest level" the news that the liquidator is only offering two weeks' statutory redundancy, when staff who took voluntary redundancy in the past 18 months got four weeks, or double the amount currently offered.
He wants an urgent meeting with Finance Minister Michael Noonan.
The union has expressed disappointment that, at a time when there was an agreed wind-down schedule in place, it has now become apparent that the Government had anticipated the liquidation, which took staff completely by surprise. Many of the current staff have relatively short tenures, and with statutory redundancy set at a maximum of €600 per year of service, those with two, three and four years' service will receive only €2,400, €3,600 and €4,800 respectively. Mr Broderick expressed concern that IBRC employees are fearful that they may be overlooked completely or at best regarded as "collateral damage" in this situation.
"Our members have not only been shocked by the suddenness of the announcement but are also extremely concerned about the future. Our aim is to clarify their position as soon as possible in talks with the liquidators from KPMG and with the Government," Mr Broderick added.