IBOA finance union challenges bank's cull of company cars
FINANCIAL planning consultants at state-owned AIB are opposing plans by management to withdraw company cars.
AIB announced last year that benefits like cars, free golf club and gym membership were being scrapped under sweeping reforms to save €30m.
They were expected to be phased out within months of being announced, but the Irish Independent understands that the bank remains in discussion with a number of divisions, including those who work in financial planning, to get rid of the cars.
It is understood that while the vehicles will not be stripped from the group altogether, there will be a "massive scale down", with managers having to make a business case for retaining them.
"You're not going to take a company car from somebody if they absolutely need it," one bank source said.
"You present a business case and if it exists then they make a decision on that basis."
But the finance union, the Irish Bank Officials Association (IBOA), said company cars for financial planning consultants were "needs-based" rather than a "perk" and the bank wanted to get rid of them.
"What they (the bank) have decided to do is to say that by the end of the year they will take the car off them," said IBOA general secretary Larry Broderick.
"We have about 80 or 90 of our colleagues around the country and they (the bank) can't do that.
"There have been deals done where people have had perks of cars and they (the bank) have replaced them with compensation or an allowance, but in this case they're taking it off them altogether."
Mr Broderick said the issue had been referred to the Labour Relations Commission (LRC).
According to IBOA's 'Spectrum' magazine, IBOA representatives received a mandate at a meeting in August to reject the bank's proposals and to conduct an indicative ballot to establish whether affected members would be prepared to take industrial action if the bank attempted to implement the proposal unilaterally.
The magazine also said that the bank did not intend to compensate the consultants for the loss of the "contractual entitlement".
Top brass at the bank, including chief executive David Duffy, do not have company cars.
AIB declined to comment on the row. However, a spokeswoman said: "AIB's plan is to radically resize its cost base, consolidate the core business and restructure the balance sheet.
"Every action taken at AIB is designed to return the bank to profitability, attract new investors and return value to the Irish taxpayer."