Financial Services Union seeks urgent Ulster Bank profits clarification

Issued : 5 August 2016

The Financial Services Union has asked Ulster Bank to urgently clarify its financial performance in Northern Ireland.  The bank’s parent company, RBS, published its half yearly financial report today, but for the first time ever, there were no separate figures for Ulster Bank in Northern Ireland.

Figures were, however, published for Ulster Bank in the Republic of Ireland, which reflected headline profits of €155m.

FSU General Secretary, Larry Broderick, added:

“For the first time ever, the financial performance of Ulster Bank’s operations in Northern Ireland is not being made available to the public.  This is a worrying development which does little to repair the damaged reputation of banks and their record on transparency.

“The FSU has asked the bank to urgently rectify this situation for the benefit of customers, staff and the wider economy.  Given that Ulster Bank is such an important part of Northern Ireland economic infrastructure, it is unthinkable that these figures will not be published in the interests of openness and accountability.”

The Union is also asking the bank to rethink plans to effectively cut local employees’ pensions. Following regulatory changes which increased employer pension costs, Ulster Bank decided to pass its cost onto employees in Northern Ireland.  The bank’s cost will be £1 million annually.

FSU Senior Official, Gareth Murphy, said:

“Ulster Bank staff are working incredibly hard in the context of massive restructuring and job losses to deliver a quality service.  In recent years 1,000 jobs have been lost across the island and a further 100 have been cut in Northern Ireland this year.

“Other UK banks face similar employer costs and have done the right thing in absorbing the cost.  There is no moral, legal or business justification to burden local staff with this £1 million cost when it is staff and customers who are creating the bank’s revenues.”

FSU members are currently considering a proposal offered by an independent mediator. 

The FSU is also asking the Chief Executive of RBS (which owns Ulster Bank), Ross McKeon, to reaffirm RBS’s commitment to Ulster Bank customers and staff, and confirm that there are no further plans to close branches.