Minister for Finance has key role to play in Ulster Bank wind-down - FSU

Issued : 19 February 2021

PRESS RELEASE

Minister for Finance has key role to play in Ulster Bank wind-down - FSU

Employment rights must be protected

Friday, 18th February 2021

The Financial Services Union has said that it is deeply disappointed by the confirmation this morning (19.02.21) that Ulster Bank DAC is exiting its operations in the Republic of Ireland.

Commenting, general secretary of the FSU, John O’Connell said: “This is very sad news for the staff and customers of the Bank, as well as for the communities it has served for so many years. The timing of this announcement in the middle of a pandemic and the manner in which the staff have been treated throughout this process is totally unacceptable. We will be expressing these sentiments to Ulster Bank management when we meet with them this afternoon. The announcement today also raises many more questions than answers and we will be seeking further detail in our meeting today.”

The Union is of the view that a statement from the Central Bank of Ireland and detailed guidance from Ulster Bank management are now needed, so that Ulster Bank staff can respond to the queries and concerns their customers will be raising today.

Mr O’Connell added: “The Minister for Finance has a vital role to play now and needs to get all key stakeholders around the table to discuss and agree the response to this situation. In approaching this process, we will encourage constructive solutions so long as they provide the maximum protection for customers, staff and the branch structure.

“Our position is clear: the maximum number of jobs must be protected, staff must have the option of transferring with the work, and all service agreements must be honoured and transferred. There must be no compulsory redundancies: any proposal for a voluntary redundancy scheme must be agreed with the union. In short, the principle that employment rights in Ireland follow the work if business operations are transferred must be upheld. Anything which breaches that principle will be strongly resisted. Equally, there can be no role for vulture funds – they can never be a part of the solution.

“While Ulster Bank’s operations in Northern Ireland are unaffected by today’s news, the work of up to 600 staff in Belfast predominately involves supporting Ulster Bank activities in the Republic. These jobs must be secured and protected.

“We are calling on Ulster Bank and Natwest management to provide clarity about the future of these positions.

 “The staff of Ulster Bank are not only loyal and dedicated employees who deserve protection and respect, they also are a core part of the business infrastructure of this country, knowing and understanding the needs of SMEs and individuals all over this country. As we recover from the pandemic, these vital skills and expertise must not be lost. This is a very difficult day for those staff at Ulster Bank and the FSU is operating a helpline for affected members, details of which have been directly communicated with them.”

ENDS

Contact: Brian McDowell, Head of Communications and Public Affairs, FSU. Tel: 087-9161225. Email: [email protected].

Notes to editors:

  • John O’Connell is available for interview, on request.

About FSU: The FSU is Ireland’s leading union across banking and finance. We represent thousands of staff across the main retail banks, and we have members in more than 70 companies across the finance and fintech sectors. Our members are spread across the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, and Great Britain. We are headquartered in Dublin and we also have a presence in Belfast. We are members of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions and UNI Global finance union.