Move to UK job or forgo payout, BOSI staff told
Company adopts tough stance on redundancy as merger terms released
BANK of Scotland (Ireland) staff who decline to take new roles in an independent service company or move to the UK will be laid off with no redundancy pay, the Irish Independent has learned.
The tough stance is revealed in a lengthy document recently submitted to the companies' registrar on the 'draft terms' for the merger between BOSI and Bank of Scotland plc.
The document also reveals that some BOSI staff will be transferred to an IT service provider separate to the "independent service company", dubbed ServCo, that was announced last week.
A BOSI spokesman last night confirmed that "50 or 60" workers were expected to be transferred to the new IT provider detailed in the document.
It is understood that the IT contract is likely to go to an established IT company, though a decision is not expected to be announced for several weeks.
In a section detailed "likely repercussions of the merger on employment", the document details the way BOSI's 800 plus staff will be impacted by the merger.
All workers whose functions are transferring to the new companies will be automatically moved across, with all their terms and conditions remaining the same "other than in respect of pension benefits".
"Some employees of BOSI who are not ServCo employees or IT employees will be invited to apply for employment with ServCo to carry out new functions to those currently being carried out by those employees," the document says.
The remaining workers will either be "made redundant by BOSI no later than immediately before the merger becomes effective", or be given a choice between working for Bank of Scotland in the UK or moving to new roles in ServCo.
"Any of those employees who do not wish to transfer to BOS and have declined alternative employment with ServCo will be considered to have declined suitable alternative employment and will be considered as disentitled to any redundancy payment," the document adds.
BOSI last week said that 36 specialist staff who were being made redundant as part of the wind-down were likely to receive redundancy payments in line with the nine-month-plus packages given to laid-off Halifax staff earlier this year.
Unite official Brian Gallagher, who represents BOSI's staff, could not be reached for comment on the prospect of some staff getting no packages.
As well as the change in job functions, transferring to the new companies may be unattractive given the changed pension arrangements, with both ServCo and the IT provider setting up their own schemes.
BOSI's staff are split between a coveted defined benefit scheme that is closed to new entrants, a defined contribution scheme and a hybrid scheme that launched last year.
The schemes were €36m in the red at the end of last year. A spokesman for BOSI last night declined to comment on how the deficit would be resolved.
It is understood, however, that unions have already been told that BOSI owner Llyods is likely to fill the gap before the Irish bank shuts up shop at the end of December.
Separately, sources yesterday stressed that an announcement on BOSI's independent service company was several weeks away.
A management team, headed by BOSI chief executive Joe Higgins, is making a bid to set up ServCo, however several other players are also in the running.
Other parties are believed to be considering making an offer to take over BOSI's entire Irish business as a functioning bank, but sources yesterday stressed that there was no question of such a deal happening.
"There's been a strategic review and this [winding down BOSI], is the decision that's been reached," said one.
"That's what's going to happen."