Bosses in desperate scramble to pay staff their wages
EMPLOYERS whose business accounts are with Ulster Bank were engaged in a desperate scramble to get cash together yesterday to pay their staff.
But some were unable to get enough cash and were forced to issue cheques that take a week to clear.
This meant that many workers were facing into the weekend short of money.
David Hall, who owns private ambulance service Lifeline, said the fact that his company banks with Ulster Bank meant he had huge problems trying to pay his 70 staff, most of whom are paramedics and ambulance drivers.
The ambulance service boss said the Ulster Bank debacle meant his staff were now on a financial lifeline.
He has spent the past 24 hours getting cash together to pay around €40,000 in wages. His staff are mainly paid weekly, on a Thursday.
The firm also banks with AIB, which it used to gather cash together. But Mr Hall was unable to get enough cash to pay everyone in euro.
This meant that some people have had to be issued with cheques.
"But cheques take a week to clear, so it is a case of back to the Stone Age."
Mr Hall sends a file every week to Ulster Bank instructing it to pay his staff. But the collapse of the systems in the bank meant this process has not worked.
"People have mortgages and direct debits to pay. This is a mess," he said.
Mr Hall, who is a founder member of the New Beginning lobby group for those in mortgage arrears, said he would be calling on banks to be sympathetic and not charge anyone who ended up overdrawn as a result of the Ulster Bank systems problem.