Saturday 18 November 2017

Banks' staff will get €60,000 less under redundancy plan

Kerry footballer Colm 'Gooch' Cooper gets a hurling lesson from Grace Walsh, sister of Kilkenny hurling star Tommy, during a visit to the Loreto
Convent in Kilkenny yesterday as part of the AIB Build a Bank Competition
Kerry footballer Colm 'Gooch' Cooper gets a hurling lesson from Grace Walsh, sister of Kilkenny hurling star Tommy, during a visit to the Loreto Convent in Kilkenny yesterday as part of the AIB Build a Bank Competition
Laura Noonan

Laura Noonan

LONG-serving AIB and Bank of Ireland staff will get pay-offs of around €81,000 -- €60,000 less than the "old" banking norm -- under the new redundancy packages that are being offered to more than 3,000 workers.

News of the lower packages came on the day that bank workers' trade union the IBOA claimed a "minimum" of 250 extra job cuts would be announced at Bank of Ireland.

But there was some better news as sources confirmed that Ulster's plan to cut 950 jobs across Ireland had been "over-subscribed", greatly reducing the chances of forced layoffs.

State-supported AIB and Bank of Ireland announced details of strikingly similar redundancy schemes yesterday morning.

Both offer staff three weeks' pay per year of service plus two weeks' statutory pay (capped at €600 a week), as well as the option of early retirement.

The deal was recommended by the Labour Relations Commission for 2,500 job cuts already announced at AIB -- the bank and unions are expected to approve it early next week.

The package means that a worker earning €50,000 -- described as the "average" salary by the IBOA -- and with 20 years' service would get a severance package of €81,000.

Under the 'old' banking packages, which the IBOA had initially sought, the same worker would have gotten almost €140,000 based on six weeks' salary plus two weeks' statutory per year of service.

The Government owns virtually all of AIB and 15pc of Bank of Ireland.

Yesterday's deals show AIB staff can take early retirement at 50 and BoI's at 55.

IBOA boss Larry Broderick last night welcomed the progress that had been made, but said that the AIB cuts were still the subject of uncertainty.

"We'll be meeting the bank next week, but the big question is what is the plan (for where the cuts will come from)?" Mr Broderick said.

'Imperative'

In his recommendation, the Labour Relations Commission's Kevin Foley stressed that it was "imperative that the staff at the bank achieve an understanding of future detailed plans for their business segment".

Mr Broderick said the IBOA would also push AIB to commit to the €5,000 training grant allowed by BoI.

Bank of Ireland last night dismissed suggestions of an extra 250 job cuts as "purely speculative".

In an email sent to staff yesterday, Bank of Ireland chief Richie Boucher said "the overall number of people which we need to employ will regrettably reduce".

"The 250 is a very conservative estimate," said Mr Broderick. The IBOA believes the extra cuts will come from BoI's "branch plan" which Mr Broderick said involves "regional centralisation" and fewer staff in branches.

BoI has not indicated any plan to close branches, he added.

BoI has already announced 750 cuts in the bank's head office -- 350 of these have already been made.

Both BoI and AIB's schemes include a €225,000 cap on packages.

The payoffs are also capped at two years' salary, while a minimum level of €10,000 (inclusive of a training grant) is set for staff that have less than two years' service.

AIB also announced last night that its long-serving head of human resources John Conway was stepping down, along with marketing boss Alan Kelly.

Meanwhile, sources last night confirmed that Ulster Bank got "more than 1,000" applications for its 950-strong redundancy programme.

Ulster will spend the coming days going through the applications. The Ulster cuts are being made on broadly similar terms to those offered by bank of Ireland and AIB.

Irish Independent

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