EBS workers plan one-day stoppage in bonus pay row

Action will be taken if no progress made by early next week

Staff at EBS, the subsidiary of the AIB group , are planning a one-day stoppage later this month if there is no progress by early next week on dealing with a row over a bonus payment. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times

Staff at EBS, the subsidiary of the AIB group , are planning a one-day stoppage later this month if there is no progress by early next week on dealing with a row over a bonus payment. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times

Wed, Sep 11, 2013, 22:30

Staff at EBS, the subsidiary of the AIB group , are planning a one-day stoppage later this month if there is no progress by early next week on dealing with a row over a bonus payment.

The decision was made at a general meeting of members of the Unite trade union at EBS tonight which was convened following the collapse of talks on the issue at the Labour Relations Commission earlier this week.

The meeting instructed the union to serve notice of a one-day strike to take place before September 30 if outstanding issues were not resolved in new talks with the company by September 16.

EBS staff decided that on foot of communication received from management and an invitation received from the Labour Relations Commission on Wednesday their representatives should engage in new talks but that if no progress was made in these discussions, the union should serve strike notice on September 17th.

The dispute centres around the payment of a bonus, known as the 13th month payment, which the union maintained was a contractual element of annual pay but which was discontinued in 2011.

Following a one-day strike in late 2011, half of the bonus was paid to EBS staff.

Earlier this year, the Labour Court ruled that the bonus payment should be discontinued, but that the remainder of the amount due from 2011 should be given to staff.

The union said that the management at EBS/AIB had failed to pay the balance of the 2011 bonus payment as proposed by the Labour Court.

Unite has maintained that the amount out-standing represented the equivalent of two weeks wages for staff.

Speaking after the meeting last night Unite official Colm Quinlan said the workforce had displayed “extraordinary patience” throughout the protracted process which culminated in the breakdown of talks on Monday. He said members were “astounded that an institution now owned by the State should blatantly disregard a recommendation made by the same State’s supreme body for resolving disputes”.

“The top bankers who helped precipitate Ireland’s economic crisis were known for their cherrypicking attitude to regulation. Today, their institutions have been taken over by the State but it seems they retain the same cherrypicking approach to Labour Court recommendations - and once again it is working people, in this case EBS employees, who are being asked to pick up the tab.”

Unite had previously warned that as part of any industrial action pickets may not be confined to EBS outlets and could be placed on selected AIB premises.