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IBOA warns €26m war chest can be used to resist pay cuts

THE country’s biggest banking union says it has a €26m war chest which means it has the resources to challenge banks' plans for pay cuts.

"The take us on at their peril because we have the resources to resist," warned Irish Bank Officials Association president Jessie Doherty, at the body’s conference today.

The conference was also told that questions on pay and pensions at AIB were referred to the Labour Relations Commission in recent days.

Unions were meeting today in Dublin as tensions rise over pay cuts for tens of thousands of bank workers.

Delegates will be asked to vote on a motion that calls on the union to "resist any further attempts to reduce or alter members' terms and conditions."

It follows the Minister for Finance Michael Noonan's demand for cuts of between 6pc and 10pc in the wage and pensions bills of the three remaining bailed out banks – AIB, Bank of Ireland and Permanent TSB.

The Irish Independent reported this week that staff at Permanent TSB will lose part of their pension entitlements as well as health care and other benefits under the plan.

The banks will still fall short of the minister’s 10pc savings target, however.

The chief executives of the banks are each due to present the minister with their plans on how the savings can be achieved by the end of this month.

Michael Noonan is understood to be seeking some direct cuts to wages and allowances as well as changes to the funding of pensions and pension entitlement for those at the banks.

There are no cuts to basic pay in the Permanent TSB proposals.

If it is passed this week, the IBOA motion on pay would put the union in direct conflict with that plan, though a general motion would stop well short of direct industrial action at any single bank.

Union members have complained that there is a “double standard” over pay at the banks.

Pay and pensions of senior bankers is protected, while contracts of ordinary staff are ignored, according to one motion that will be voted on at the conference.

Online Editors