AIB job cuts proposals devastating for First Trust staff - says IBOA
Issued : 8 March 2012
IBOA The Finance Union has declared that the 2,500 job cuts proposed by AIB senior management for AIB Group is likely to have a devastating impact on First Trust Bank employees and their families.
"Although we have been expecting an announcement on the Bank's restructuring plan for some time, the scale of the proposed job losses means that ordinary bank staff are being asked to suffer the consequences of the mismanagement of the Bank's affairs to a disproportionate extent," said IBOA General Secretary, Larry Broderick.
"IBOA has argued that First Trust Bank has a very important role in the economy of Northern Ireland and that everything must be done to maintain the integrity of the branch network, to keep in place the support functions in Belfast and also to ensure that the customers in Northern Ireland and Great Britain have continued service from AIB Group.
"The Union hopes that, as part of the negotiations on the restructuring programme, we can achieve these objectives in the interests of staff, customers and the First Trust brand in Northern Ireland.
"IBOA acknowledges the commitment by AIB management to enter into negotiations with the Union on its restructuring plan and we hope that the Bank will approach this engagement in a bid to reach a balanced accommodation which takes account of all of the Bank's stakeholders - including staff and customers as well as the State and other shareholders.
"IBOA believes that the key issues to be addressed in these negotiations are:
- to protect of as many jobs as possible;
- to implement any job losses on a voluntary basis;
- to agree fair voluntary severance terms with early retirement options;
- to protect the terms and conditions of employment of all the staff on whom the future of AIB will be built; and
- to introduce a substantial change in the culture of AIB to ensure that the ethos and the practices which have brought the Bank to the brink of collapse will be eliminated so that there can be no recurrence of this catastrophe.
"We expect to enter formal negotiations on the restructuring programme with the Bank's senior management next week," he added.
In its meeting with officials from the Republic's Department of Finance today, IBOA outlined the key issues for the negotiations. The Union also highlighted the need for a comprehensive jobs strategy for the financial services sector as today's announcement from AIB comes on top of Ulster Bank's demand in January for a further 950 job cuts - as well as 6,000 job reductions that have already taken place in Irish banking since the autumn of 2008.
"This continuing haemorrhage of jobs in the financial sector shows no signs of abating," said the IBOA leader. "We need a realistic strategy to strengthen existing employment and create alternative opportunities."