Union call for redundancies in Ulster Bank to be paused for 12 month

Issued : 9 July 2020

Union calls for redundancies in Ulster Bank to be paused for 12 months

FSU has written to Ulster Bank Northern Ireland Group CEO Alison Rose on redundancy proposals

FSU, the union representing staff in Ulster Bank, has called for a pause on a new round of redundancies in the Bank.

The Union has been briefed on the opening of a voluntary redundancy register in branch and premier banking in Northern Ireland, which is due to be launched on 9th of July. This will provide for up to 40 voluntary redundancies over the coming months.

FSU is strongly opposed to the redundancies, whether for permanent, contract or agency workers, and have called for a redundancy pause for at least 12 months. These proposed redundancies come on the back of thousands of redundancies in Ulster Bank over the last decade.

FSU General Secretary, John O’Connell, has written to the Group’s CEO, Alison Rose and the Union is considering further steps that could be taken to protect jobs and service to customers at this crucial time.

Commenting FSU General Secretary John O’Connell said:

“We believe that the sector is currently understaffed. We can see the widespread use of agency, on-call and contract workers, as well as outsourcing arrangements, which clearly indicate under staffing. Any reduction in staffing of branches will have knock on affect for customers, potentially adding delays and undermining local services." 

"The economy in Northern Ireland is in no position to absorb further job losses. There are projections that the economy will shrink by up to 10% this year, which will have a potentially devastating impact on jobs and communities.”

"We know there is widespread, paid and unpaid, out of hours work in the banking sector, highlighting understaffing and so redundancies are not appropriate at this time. I have pointed out to the CEO that this decision is completely at odds with her own statement about being a ‘purpose-driven’ organisation for staff and customers. I further pointed out that this demonstrates banking culture has clearly not changed and the same practices as old continue.”

Gareth Murphy, FSU Head of Industrial Relations and Campaigns said:

“We have highlighted to the bank how their business rationale is flawed and does not stack up. There are too many unknowns and uncertainties for any reasonable decision to be made by either management or staff. Any redundancies will have an unfair knock on impact on staff in terms of workload, stress, well-being, and job location. We have not been provided with any detailed plans on redundancies, nor on measures to mitigate redundancies. Other options could be put forward around changes of hours, retraining and secondments to support customers. It appears no effort has been made to do this.”

“In recent years, many roles in Ulster Bank/RBS have been offshored and outsourced to jurisdictions outside the island of Ireland. The FSU wants to see a recognition of this, and we will be seeking commitments to maintain employment in Northern Ireland and would encourage Ulster Bank to consider bringing this work back to help maintain employment in the Northern Ireland economy. This announcement on redundancies comes against a backdrop of the Covid 19 crisis, where bank workers were designated as essential workers. Redundancies would lead to further pressure for staff who remain in Ulster Bank.”

FSU will also be seeking an urgent meeting with the Stormont Economy Minister Diane Dodds, to discuss the redundancies.

Ends

For more information, contact Paul Dillon on 00353876859446

About FSU

The FSU is Ireland’s leading union across banking and finance. We represent thousands of staff across the main retail banks, and we have members in more than 70 companies across the finance and fintech sectors. Our members are spread Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland and Great Britain. We are headquartered in Dublin and we also have a presence in Belfast. We are members of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions and UNI Global finance union