Friday 23 February 2018

AIB staff 'held clandestine parties in crash'

Michael Glennon, leaves the employment appeals tribunal on Adelaide Road, Dublin. Photo: Damien Eagers
Michael Glennon, leaves the employment appeals tribunal on Adelaide Road, Dublin. Photo: Damien Eagers
Breda Heffernan

Breda Heffernan

A former arrears field agent for AIB has said the bank held "clandestine" Christmas parties for fear of what the public might think, after it received €30bn of taxpayers' money in the bailout.

Michael Glennon who is taking an unfair dismissal case against AIB, told an Employment Appeals Tribunal that news his contract with the bank was being terminated in September 2013 came like a "bombshell".

He said there was no reason why he should have been let go from his €65,000-a-year job as the mortgage arrears situation at the time was "shocking".

The bank claims Mr Glennon was an independent contractor, however, he insists he was an employee and said he was issued with a staff number, took part in company training courses and was invited to AIB Christmas parties.

Mr Glennon said he began working for EBS, which later merged with AIB, in September 2008 and signed a 12-month contract in January 2009. He signed a follow-up 12-month contract in April 2010 but said he did not receive any further contracts after that.

He said the initial contract had stated he was an "independent contractor", however, he did not believe he was one.

"Certainly for the last three years there was no contract. I was, in my mind ... an employee.

"I can't believe under any circumstances I could be determined as an independent contractor. First of all, I was given a staff number, staff identity badge. Independent contractors had to go through a process of signing in at reception ... I had my security badge."

Mr Glennon said he was told he was an "integral" part of the Arrears Support Unit (ASU) and was invited to all relevant departmental meetings, underwent training courses, was subject to staff appraisals and was invited to Christmas parties for the ASU and the AIB Group.

Referring to the parties, he said: "I know in latter years this was done in a more clandestine situation because of the feeling from the taxpayer etc.

"It couldn't be seen paying €30bn and staff going out for Christmas parties, it was happening quietly."

As a field agent, Mr Glennon called to the homes of customers who were in arrears to carry out a financial assessment.

"My opening line was: 'I'm here from EBS. I'm here to help you.' No customer ever refused help. You'd be invited into the home for a cup of coffee.

"We sat down, sometimes the information flowed, sometimes people didn't give the full information, sometimes through forgetfulness, sometimes through embarrassment."

Irish Independent

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