Hiring of contract staff in Bank of Ireland branches needs to stop.

Issued : 25 January 2021

Press statement from the Financial Services Union

Hiring of contract staff in Bank of Ireland branches needs to stop.

Roles need to be permanent and pensionable say FSU.

The revelation by Bank of Ireland that they intend to replace full time employees in branches with contract staff is a deeply worrying development and is totally unacceptable according to John O’Connell, General Secretary of the Financial Services Union (FSU).

Bank of Ireland have stated that they intend to replace permanent staff who availed of the voluntary redundancy scheme with contract staff on fixed term contracts.

According to Mr O’Connell the bank has attempted to introduce contract staff by stealth as replacement for full time staff at branch level without any prior discussion or agreement with the Union. They have indicated to the FSU that this is to happen in branches in North Dublin over the next couple of weeks. Bank of Ireland have also confirmed to the FSU that this has happened previously around the Country and will continue to do so.

Mr O’Connell commented: “Bank of Ireland has no agreement with the FSU to replace full time staff with contract staff. With 650,000 people in receipt of state unemployment it is not acceptable that these roles are not advertised as permanent and pensionable jobs.”

We are writing to the Bank to urgently request more information and asked them to defer any recruitment plans* until more clarity is provided. It is unclear if these agency staff have the required qualifications to operate in a regulated sector like banking. The revelation by the Bank that this has occurred previously creates a very serious situation which requires a swift response from the Bank. The Bank claims to have adopted a new culture including transparency in dealing with stakeholders yet are operating like a secret society.”

It has also been reported in the media that Bank of Ireland (BOI) are considering closing branches in Northern Ireland as part of their strategic review currently underway into their future operations in Northern Ireland.

The Bank has also previously announced a voluntary redundancy scheme last year looking to cut staff numbers by 1450 across the Group including Northern Ireland.

Mr O’Connell commented: “The FSU sought the terms of reference for this NI review, but the Bank refused our request which is another blatant failure in its so-called new culture of transparency “

“The FSU expressed concerns about the viability of the BOI plan to reduce staffing levels to a record low when it was announced. We are calling on Bank of Ireland to give a timetable for reopening all their services to a full-time level including the branches currently open on a part time basis The Bank needs to give an undertaking that the branch network both in Northern Ireland and the Republic will be protected and remain an integral part of the Banks growth strategy in the future and that customers can access their call centre on the previous service hours “concluded Mr O’Connell.

ENDS

Note

FSU referred this issue to the WRC in Q4 2020 with the adjudicator determining that a validation process was required for:

 “Effective management of all restructures by BOI with a validation process with FSU on the basis that exits will not lead to increased workloads for existing staff – initiatives must be in place, effective and proven to align with proposed capacity release before colleague releases can be effected.  “ 

It is the view of the FSU that this is not being adhered to by Bank of Ireland.

Contact: Brian McDowell, Head of Communications and Public Affairs, FSU. Tel: 087-9161225. Email: [email protected]. 

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 across the 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.