Finance union seeks urgent talks with Government, IMF and EU over bank restructuring plans

Issued : 22 November 2010

IBOA The Finance Union is seeking an urgent meeting with the Irish Government and with representatives of the IMF/EU team to discuss plans for the restructuring of the Irish banking sector.

"While bank officials have always recognised that some consolidation was inevitable within the banking sector, our members have become increasingly alarmed in recent days as speculation about the possible scale of this restructuring has intensified," said IBOA General Secretary, Larry Broderick.

"It is important, therefore, that clarity is provided as soon as possible on the extent and nature of this reconfiguration of the banking sector for the sake of staff and indeed for the sake of customers," he said.

"A key concern for IBOA will be to protect the maximum number of jobs within the industry at this time. In particular we will be urging the authorities to resist the temptation to cut costs by implementing further staff cuts.

"Any short-term gains from such an approach are likely to be more than offset by the loss of experience and skill at a crucial time for the sector and by the negative impact on the economy of lost tax revenue, increased welfare costs and reduced consumer spending," he pointed out.

"With over 6,000 jobs lost within the sector since the crisis began in 2008 and with many more already scheduled to go in the next twelve months, ordinary bank officials are continuing to pay a significant price for the widescale mismanagement of this industry - while those who actually made those decisions have generally enjoyed a soft landing courtesy of golden parachutes.

"In contrast to the knee-jerk responses to market fluctuations which have characterised policy in more recent months, the IMF/EU intervention should now stabilise the funding position of Irish banks to allow for a more considered review of the banking system as a whole to determine what kind of framework the country needs to support economic growth and social development in the future."

"If this major restructuring of the banking system is to be effective, it is vital that it secures the fullest possible buy-in from the staff who will be required to deliver it. This requires proper engagement based on meaningful consultation, negotiation and agreement," he declared.