Finance union wants clarification of Ulster Bank plans for branch closures

Issued : 3 January 2013

IBOA The Finance Union is to meet senior management in Ulster Bank next week to discuss the Bank's restructuring plans which are to include a number of branch closures.

The Union has sought the meeting following comments made by a senior Ulster Bank executive last month that 20 as yet unnamed branches are facing closure - a figure which has been broadly confirmed by the Bank in response to media queries today.

"While the possibility of branch closures has been on our negotiating agenda ever since the Bank announced proposals for 950 job losses last January," said IBOA General Secretary, Larry Broderick, "this is the first indication we have received of a specific number. We are disappointed that the Bank's management chose to reveal their intentions in a teleconference to a relatively small number of staff - rather than in the course of the ongoing engagement with IBOA on the restructuring programme.

"The Bank's management had previously signalled that some reduction in its network would be necessary. However, it had not been ready to engage with us because of the need to review its plans in the light of its experiences of the major computer glitch during the summer. So the Bank has yet to provide us with details of the number and location of the branches earmarked for closure.

"We hope that next week's meeting will mark the start of real engagement on the likely implications for customers, as well as staff. While many staff in Ulster Bank have already expressed an interest in leaving the Bank under the terms of the redundancy arrangements agreed with IBOA in the wake of last year's announcement, a number of practical issues remain to be resolved in terms of the relocation of staff who are remaining with the Bank - as well as the transfer of customer accounts to new branches.

"In view of the premature nature of the communication by the Bank, we believe it is important that we achieve clarification on all of these issues as quickly as possible in the interests of both customers and staff."