IBOA members vote to reject NIB's decision to walk out on pensions negotiations

Issued : 14 October 2010

IBOA the Finance Union has called on National Irish Bank to defer its unilateral decision to close the staff's Defined Benefit Pension Scheme and agree to refer the issue to the Labour Court - following a consultative ballot in which the Union's members were virtually unanimous in rejecting the Bank's actions.

Following the outcome of the ballot, IBOA General Secretary, Larry Broderick, said that staff in NIB clearly believe that the unilateral decision by their senior management is in breach of the agreed negotiating procedures. Staff also want management to defer this decision to allow the issue to be referred to the Labour Court.

"Over the last year, IBOA has engaged constructively with the Bank on a wide-ranging restructuring programme - involving significant branch closures as well as 150 redundancies. In view of the substantial sacrifices they have already made, our members find it appalling that the Bank has short-circuited the negotiations on the staff pension scheme - which were in process under the auspices of Kevin Foley of the Labour Relations Commission.

"Staff also find it difficult to comprehend how the Bank which has pleaded inability to pay staff their contractual entitlements can suddenly find a significant sum to offer staff an inducement worth 5% of salary to persuade them to forego future pension benefits by abandoning the Defined Benefit pension scheme.

"This attempt to induce people to make serious and complex decisions about their future pension without proper financial advice is totally unacceptable and unethical. This is why we have raised concerns about this development with Financial Regulator, the Pensions Regulator and the Pensions Board.

"The Union has also been in contact with NIB's Danish parent, Danske Bank, which is party to major international agreements with the global union federation, UNI, as well as with IBOA. National Irish Bank's actions also violate these agreements," added Mr. Broderick.