Business Irish

Saturday 17 March 2018

Bank workers would back industrial action – survey

Brian Hutton

MORE than half of frontline bank workers would back industrial action over plummeting confidence in their bosses, a survey has signalled.

The poll of almost 1,000 Unite trade union members working at Bank of Ireland, Irish Life and Permanent TSB and EBS also revealed three quarters felt uncomfortable carrying out some customer-related actions over the past year.

Colm Quinlan, a regional officer with the union, said the findings confirmed a real lack of confidence among staff in the ability of management to rescue the once-proud Irish banking sector.

"It is remarkable that the actions of senior management over one decade have destroyed the general esteem in a workforce that once was proud of what they did, were respected in their communities and were an essential pillar of the Irish economy," he said.

The survey found:

- Six in 10 lower-paid bank workers did not have confidence in their management.

- Almost the same number said they did not enjoy their current working environment.

- Only 14pc had any confidence in the future security of their job, while the vast majority were worried about their pension.

Asked if they would support a co-ordinated campaign of escalating industrial action in defence of their job conditions and security, almost 53pc responded in favour, just over 16pc ruled it out, while almost a third were undecided.

"That one in seven should feel confident about what one generation ago was considered a stable and secure job is a real indictment of the damage wreaked within banking as well as within the wider community," said Mr Quinlan.

Unite carried out the survey in the week ending last Tuesday, November 8. The union has around 5,000 members working at Bank of Ireland, Irish Life and Permanent TSB and EBS, and around 20pc of those responded to the online poll.

Members at the financial institutions tend to be lower-paid front desk and clerical staff.

Rob Hartnett, Unite spokesman, said the findings will help the union decide on future action.

"It has given us a direction, but we are in the early stages of framing potential action and potential campaigns arising out of this," he added

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