IBOA demands comprehensive talks with Government on banking crisis

Issued : 15 April 2011

IBOA The Finance Union is seeking urgent and intense engagement with the special Cabinet sub-committee on employment - following AIB's announcement of over 2,000 job losses earlier this week and the broad approach to Irish banking outlined by the Minister for Finance recently.

IBOA General Secretary Larry Broderick told over 150 delegates to the Union's Biennial Delegate Conference in Croke Park today (Friday) that the job losses proposed for AIB alone would be the equivalent of a major multi-national company pulling out of Ireland: with further redundancies likely in other institutions in the coming months.

"In any other circumstance, the response to such a catastrophe would be an employment task force to explore alternative employment opportunities, training initiatives, counseling and other services. But so far the silence from Government has been disappointing for us as a trade union and unnerving for our members.

"I hope that this situation will be rectified when we meet the Minister for Finance and the Tánaiste in the near future. But we also believe that a more wide-ranging engagement with Government is necessary to reflect upon the profound implications of what lies ahead for our members - especially since it comes on top of over 7,000 job losses in the financial service sector in the last two years.

Outlining "A Vision for A Change" in the financial services sector, Mr. Broderick called for a tripartite agreement between Government, employers and staff to underpin the change agenda. He also urged the implementation of new corporate governance structures to improve diversity of representation on the boards of major financial institutions - as well as higher standards of probity.

"Recent experience also indicates a pressing need for strong legal protection for whistleblowers - and a major change in the operating culture in financial institutions towards service-driven goals rather than the narrow pursuit of profit maximisation. Perhaps if these elements had been in place years ago - as IBOA demanded at the time - then many of the problems now confronting this industry and this country would have been avoided," he said.

Other elements of the vision outlined by Mr. Broderick include a stronger emphasis on regulation and the clarification of the role of foreign-owned banks - especially in view of the likely reduction in the number of domestic institutions to two.

The Union is also seeking the amendment of the emergency banking legislation - which was introduced in the Republic just before Christmas. IBOA wants change to this law to ensure that the employment protection afforded to workers in other sectors is restored to workers in the financial services sector.