IBOA seeks dialogue over Chancellor's proposed sell-off of RBS shares

Issued : 11 June 2015

Ulster Bank staff representatives from IBOA are to seek engagement with the British Chancellor – as well as the Finance Ministers in Stormont and Dublin and RBS Chief Executive, Ross McEwan – to discuss the implications of George Osborne’s decision to begin to return RBS to private ownership.

“We have received assurances in the recent past about the strength of RBS’s commitment to its presence on the island of Ireland through its Ulster Bank subsidiary,” explained Larry Broderick, General Secretary of IBOA The Finance Union which represents the majority of Ulster Bank employees.

“We are keen to ensure that this commitment will be maintained in any new ownership arrangements that may emerge as the British Exchequer begins to sell down its majority stake in RBS.

“Ulster Bank, with the support of IBOA, is also in the process of expanding its Customer Service Centre in Belfast in order to undertake work on behalf of RBS Group customers in Great Britain. We want an assurance that the change in ownership arrangements arising from the Chancellor’s decision will have no adverse consequences for this development – or indeed any similar opportunities that might arise in future.

“The current and former staff of Ulster Bank have made a vital contribution to its recent return to profitability – through sacrifices in terms of remuneration and job numbers. They have been essential to maintaining and in some cases rebuilding relationships with customers during a very challenging period for the bank,” said the IBOA leader.

“After so much far-reaching change for staff and customers, the Chancellor’s announcement adds a new element of uncertainty – which could be addressed in our view  if the current commitment to the Irish operations was further copper-fastened by including it as one of the conditions of the sale of the State’s shareholding. Similar undertakings have been given by other financial institutions in similar circumstances.”

“As the retail bank with the largest branch network in Northern Ireland and as the principal challenger to the two pillar banks in the Republic, the future of Ulster Bank is clearly pivotal to the development of financial policy in both jurisdictions. So we are keen to engage with the relevant Ministers in the Republic and Northern Ireland as well as with the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Chief Executive of RBS,” added Mr. Broderick.