Bank staff seek urgent talks on restructuring

Issued : 31 March 2011

IBOA The Finance Union, the largest trade union in Ireland's banking sector, is seeking an urgent meeting with the Minister for Finance, Michael Noonan, to discuss the implications of the Minister's statement to the Dáil following the announcement of the result of the capital and liquidity evaluations of the four main domestic banks.

“The implication in the Minister's proposals to restructure these institutions by a combination of merger and down-sizing is one of significant job reductions," said IBOA General Secretary, Larry Broderick. "While we accept that some redundancies may be inevitable, we believe that, if the aim of the exercise is to achieve a working banking system capable of serving the needs of customers as well as the demands of the economy, then bank employees should be considered as absolutely vital to the solution - rather than as part of the problem.

“Ordinary bank staff should not be made scapegoats for a short-term cost-cutting agenda. Short-termism has been a major contributory factor creating the current crisis. The problem will only be compounded if we try to resolve the crisis through short-term actions.

"While we welcome the MInister's comments on reforming governance within the financial services sector, we would urge him to address the need for a major change in the culture of banking throughout all of the institutions as well as in the boards and the senior management teams.

“The Minister is committed to seek a long-term solution to the banking crisis. From that perspective, I would urge him to recognise the important role of bank staff in ensuring the recovery of the banking system. I also believe that a Government which is committed to employment creation should strive to protect as many job as possible in such a key sector of the economy.

“IBOA believes that redundancies should be the last resort - rather than the first item on the agenda. If redundancies are deemed to be necessary following full consultation with staff and their professional representatives, they should be implemented on a voluntary basis and with due consideration for the implications for the remaining staff and for customer service. IBOA is ready to participate in such dialogue with both the Government and individual employers in constructive fashion.

“IBOA is urging the Minister to convene a meeting of all of trade unions representing affected staff in order to achieve a shared understanding about the way forward," said the IBOA leader.