Saturday 18 November 2017

EBS staff could strike tomorrow over loss of '13th month'

EBS head office staff could strike as early as tomorrow
EBS head office staff could strike as early as tomorrow
Donal O'Donovan

Donal O'Donovan

Head office staff at state-owned EBS could begin strike action as early as tomorrow following a union meeting due to be held today.

Industrial action could start as early as this because strike notice has already been served on AIB follow- ing an earlier ballot for industrial action.

However, the union is likely to give the bank a week's further notice before the 300 staff affected take to picket lines.

A general meeting of members of the Unite union is due to take place this evening after normal business hours.

The threat of industrial action comes after talks between unions and management at the Labour Relations Commission broke down.

At the heart of the dispute is a bonus payment known as the "13-month" that was paid to staff at the EBS Building Society before it was bailed out by taxpayers and the merged with AIB.

In April, the Labour Court ruled that the payment should be discontinued but said a bonus that had been due in 2011, half of which was paid, should be honoured in full by AIB.

That payment has not been made, and today's ballot of union members comes after talks on finalising the payment and on the implications for staff of the merger of EBS and AIB broke down.

In a statement, AIB said: "EBS management remains committed to resolving these issues through the established industrial relations processes of the LRC and Labour Court."

A spokesman for Unite said the union did not see any value in returning to the Labour Court as long as the court's previous decision was not honoured.

Unite represents around 300 staff at EBS based at its headquarters units at Burlington Road in Dublin and at AIB's group headquarters in nearby Ballsbridge.

Staff at EBS branches around the country are not affected by the talks between Unite and management because the branches are effectively semi-independent franchises, or tied agents.

Irish Independent

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