IBOA responds to new structures for Ulster Bank

Issued : 15 September 2015

Ulster Bank has announced that it is proceeding to implement plans for the closer alignment of its Northern Ireland business with its RBS parent in Britain while its Republic of Ireland operation will be developed to focus uniquely on the market in the Republic. Both businesses will continue to operate under the Ulster Bank brand.

Commenting on this decision, IBOA General Secretary, Larry Broderick,  said:

“This is a major development in the history of Ulster Bank: so it is crucial that the interests and concerns of customers and staff are taken fully into account – and especially, the need to ensure stability for these key stakeholders – as these substantial structural changes take place in Ulster Bank.

“IBOA has secured commitments from Ulster Bank management, underpinned by RBS, that our members’ existing contracts, terms and conditions and collective agreements with the Union will not change as a result of this development.

“Similarly, we have been advised that the boards operating in each  jurisdiction will remain in place: the most immediate impact of the new arrangement is likely to be changes in reporting lines.

“We have received indications that there may be some impact on staff numbers – with up to 50 employees in scope for redundancy. However, if this arises, any staff reduction will be addressed in line with the existing agreements between the employer and the union.

 “We have strongly urged management to keep any job losses to an absolute minimum. RBS should recognise that staff in Ulster Bank – whether in branches, customer service centres or other operations – have provided exceptional support to customers in some very difficult circumstances – which has, in turn, been reciprocated in the continuing loyalty shown by customers.

“So it is especially important, as the Northern Ireland business aligns more closely with RBS’s British operations, that not only are employment levels maintained to ensure that this support can continue but also that Ulster Bank continues to offer services and products tailored to meet the unique characteristics of the Northern Ireland economy.

“In the Republic, it is important that there is continuing investment in staff and facilities to provide the highest quality service to customers so that Ulster Bank’s aspiraton to become a genuine challenger bank can be fully realised.

“As the representatives of a substantial majority of Ulster Bank employees in both Northern Ireland and the Republic, IBOA for its part will continue to engage with the bank’s senior management teams and with the regulatory authorities in each jurisdiction to ensure that the interests of staff and customers are taken into account during this transition period and beyond.”