Business Irish

Saturday 16 December 2017

Bank of Ireland: 600 more jobs at risk on top of 750 already earmarked

Bank of Ireland' s Group Chief Executive Richie Boucher pictured during the Bank Of Ireland' s AGM at the O Reilly Hall in UCD. Photo: Frank Mc Grath
Bank of Ireland' s Group Chief Executive Richie Boucher pictured during the Bank Of Ireland' s AGM at the O Reilly Hall in UCD. Photo: Frank Mc Grath

Ed Carty

FINANCE union chiefs fear another 600 jobs could be lost at Bank of Ireland after a redundancy deal for the first swathe of lay-offs was agreed.

Bank of Ireland told workers in an email this morning that it has set a payout limit of €225,000 for staff leaving the bank voluntarily in the original cutback programme.

But the Irish Bank Officials Association (IBOA) warned of the additional job losses on top of the 750 announced in July 2010.

Larry Broderick, the union's general secretary, said he was recommending workers accept the redundancy terms.

"They are the best that can be achieved in all the circumstances," he said.

"These proposals for further job losses at Bank of Ireland coming on top of 950 job cuts scheduled for Ulster Bank and up to 2,500 in AIB Group underline IBOA's call for a comprehensive Government strategy to address the continuing haemorrhage of jobs throughout the Irish financial services sector.

"The task now for senior management in Bank of Ireland is to engage fully with staff as key stakeholders to promote the restoration of the bank to full financial health."

About 350 of the original 750 job cuts have been completed.

It is expected the next round of redundancies will cover restructuring at the bank for the next two years.

Bank of Ireland's redundancy plan for the originally affected workers has been backed the Department of Finance, which oversees a 15% state shareholding.

It plans to pay departing staff three weeks' wages for every year of service, on top of the statutory entitlement. The limit is two years' pay or 225,000 euro.

Staff who have been with the bank for more than two years will receive at least 10,000 euro.

An early retirement option has also been agreed by union bosses that will allow staff within five years of the early age limit or normal retirement date to leave.

A training grant of €5,000 is also being made available to staff.

A spokeswoman for the bank reiterated chief executive Richie Boucher's outlook when the annual results were published earlier this year and insisted there will be no big bang announcement on job cuts.

"Anybody who talks about figures is purely speculating," she said.

"We are not putting any figure on it now. What we are saying is we continue to reposition and refocus the business. There will be some changes as we go on and we will in the first instance consult with staff."

The bank said that since March 2008 3,800 workers have left the payroll through a mixture of banking businesses being sold, normal departures and retirements and voluntary redundancies.

The IBOA later said a severance package had been suggested for the 2,500 Allied Irish Banks (AIB) staff who face redundancy.

Mr Broderick said independent mediator, Kevin Foley, recommended a payout limit of €225,000 euro for staff leaving the bank voluntarily.

Bailed-out AIB announced 2,000 lay-offs last year and a further 500 job cuts in March. The move will result in the bank losing one in six of its workforce and saving 170 million euro in a year.

Mr Broderick said the mediator's recommendation recognises that any job losses in AIB should be implemented on a voluntary basis.

"The mediator's recommendation provides a template for change in AIB. But it is only half the story," he said.

"We are unable to offer a full assessment of its implications for our members in AIB because the bank has yet to share its plans for the future with us in any real detail.

"This is absolutely essential to enable staff to make a fully informed assessment about what is potentially a life-changing decision for each employee.

"So we are seeking an urgent meeting with senior management to discuss its plans for the future - not only in terms of the implications for staff but also the potential impact of service to customers."

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