Tuesday 21 November 2017

950 Ulster Bank jobs axed ... and that's just the start

ULSTER Bank staff were left reeling today as more than 950 jobs were slashed.

One in every 6 employees at Ulster Bank in Ireland will lose their job.

The announcement is expected to be the first in a raft of job cuts at banks this year.

AIB and Permanent TSB are also tipped to reduce their workforce in the coming months.

Ulster Bank currently employs 6,000 in Ireland, but the financial institution said it would be reducing its international employee base by around 3,500 over the next three years.

This is the second significant round of redundancies announced by the lender since the start of the banking crisis. In 2009 it slashed 1,000 jobs.

Banking unions have been meeting Ulster Bank over the past two days, but representatives for the bank have declined to comment, saying they will inform staff first.

Workers had more questions than answers as they turned up at their head office at George's Quay today.

"I don't know what's going to happen, but the news isn't good," said one man.

Employees were locked in an hour-long meeting with management between 9am and 10am this morning.

The Irish Bank Officials' Association (IBOA) said it expected a "significant jobs reduction" would be announced to the Ulster Bank workforce.

"We're very concerned that this potential announcement will have huge implications for staff at Ulster Bank," said general secretary Larry Broderick.


"All the indications are a significant jobs reduction, but we won't know until we meet the bank," he added.

Bank workers here are bracing themselves for a year of vicious cuts.

Unions anticipate as many as 4,000 roles will be lost across the sector this year. The announcement from Ulster Bank is expected to be the first in a long line of redundancies from Irish banks this year.

AIB is tipped to be the next big lender to cut its workforce by an estimated 2,000 over coming months.

And up to 1,000 staff at Permanent TSB face an uncertain future as its tracker mortgage loan book is sold.

Bank of Ireland is in the middle of cutbacks, having previously pledged to reduce staff numbers by 750.

Ulster Bank's move is an attempt to cut costs by €80m.

However, as the job losses were announced, it was revealed that the head of RBS, John Hourican stands to earn a £4.3m bonus.

RBS plans to sell or close the units along with corporate broking and equity capital markets, it outlined in a statement but didn't identify where the axe would fall.

Up to 600 of the roles are due to go in the Republic and 350 in the North.

Sources at Ulster said that the bank is seeking to cut costs by €80m, with €60m of that to come from its payroll while the balance will come from savings made elsewhere in the organisation.


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