Saturday 25 March 2017

EBS staff win €1,250 bonus but bank cuts redundancy offer

Anne-Marie Walsh Industry Correspondent

EBS STAFF have won back half a 'bonus' payment -- worth up to €1,250 each -- that was withheld by the State-owned lender.

But Ulster Bank workers suffered a major blow when details of their redundancy deal emerged. A total of 950 workers are due to lose their jobs at the British-government-owned bank; 600 in the Republic and 350 in Northern Ireland.

The Irish Bank Officials Association rejected an offer worth just one-and-a-half weeks pay for every year worked, on top of statutory entitlements.

The package is capped at two years' salary.

This is far lower than a previous deal offered at the Royal Bank of Scotland-owned bank during a voluntary redundancy programme in 2009.

The old package was worth up to six weeks' pay per year of service on top of statutory redundancy.

Ballot

EBS staff will now ballot on the deal that was brokered at the Labour Relations Commission yesterday.

Their union Unite has recommended a 'yes' vote on the agreement, which was struck after staff threatened to escalate strike action. The deal means they will get 50pc of the payment -- worth four weeks' pay -- that was withheld last December, while the EBS will also pay €4.8m into the pension scheme.

However, the union said the half-payment deal is a "one-year solution" for now, so it is unclear if the payment will be made into the future. A strike was mounted at head office and two branches when the payment was not made due to a Government ban on bonuses at State-owned institutions.

Unite said a similar payment continues to be paid to EBS management and staff at other state-owned financial institutions, including Permanent TSB.

"This is a very difficult environment for workers," said Unite Regional Officer Colm Quinlan.

"The strength of workers acting together in this instance has resulted in a fair solution to what had looked an intractable problem. We will be recommending acceptance of this agreement to our members."

Voting on the deal began at a meeting of staff last night and the result will be issued next Tuesday.

Irish Independent

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