Financial Services Union Suspends Pay Ballot After Ulster Bank Unilaterally Imposes Controversial Salary Ranges
Issued : 19 January 2017
The Financial Services Union has taken the unprecedented step of suspending the ballot on a new pay agreement for staff in Ulster Bank in the Republic of Ireland.
The move comes after the Bank began to implement controversial new salary ranges that will negatively affect staff, particularly recent recruits.
Implementation of the new salary ranges proposed by the Bank was not part of the pay agreement the union reached with Ulster Bank, with the assistance of independent mediator, Kieran Mulvey. Indeed, Mr Mulvey explicitly called for further engagement on proposed ranges and not implementation.
According to Gareth Murphy, Senior Industrial Relations Officer with the Financial Services Union, “We have been engaged in difficult negotiations with Ulster Bank for a number of months. We finally secured a deal which we felt we could recommend to staff in the bank. The deal secures increased pay, extends those increases to more staff than previous agreements and is weighted in favour of those on low and middle salaries.”
“During the negotiations the Bank proposed that pay would be influenced by the introduction of new salary ranges. This was not accepted by the union. Kieran Mulvey, the independent mediator who assisted the talks, also declined to recommend the new salary ranges.
“The only recommendation Mr. Mulvey made was that the new ranges be published for information and that Ulster Bank and the Financial Services Union would engage in further talks about this controversial proposal. That is the deal we secured and are prepared to recommend to members.
“However, it has now emerged that even before the ballot has concluded on the pay deal Ulster Bank is unilaterally implementing these new salary ranges. That is in breach of both the spirit and letter of the recommendation made by Mr. Mulvey. It is an appalling way to treat the loyal and dedicated staff in Ulster Bank. Today we have taken the unprecedented decision to suspend the ballot on the pay deal until the bank agrees to adhere to Mr. Mulvey’s recommendation for further talks. We have requested that the Bank confirm this to us, in writing.”
General Secretary of the Financial Services Union Larry Broderick stated, “It is completely unacceptable for the Bank to flout Mr. Mulvey’s recommendations, even as staff are voting on the proposals. We have engaged in tough but productive negotiations with Ulster Bank. This unilateral action by the Bank undermines that process and its outcome. Staff do not deserve to be treated like this. If the Bank doesn’t reverse its position we will have no option but to abandon the ballot and consult staff on further action and a campaign of opposition to the range cuts.”
Note for Editors: The suspension only applies to the ballot underway in the Republic of Ireland. A ballot on a separate pay agreement for staff in Northern Ireland will continue.