Ulster Bank agrees 7% staff pay hike despite lay-off plans

Sources say 600 departing employees in Republic are expected to benefit from the increase

Ulster Bank has agreed an average 7 per cent pay increase from January for most of its staff, even as it progresses a plan to cut a quarter of its workforce in the Republic from next March as it advances its retreat from the market.

The agreement also covers Ulster Bank Northern Ireland, a separate unit of UK-based NatWest Group that is remaining in operation, and follows negotiations with the Financial Services Union (FSU).

The accord, which remains subject to a ballot of FSU members in the two banks, also includes a cost-of-living payment next month of about €1,150 for most staff, up to and including middle management.

Sources said the 600 Ulster Bank employees in the Republic who are expected to leave from next March will benefit from the increase in their final months with the lender. Ulster Bank announced its voluntary redundancy programme last month.


A further 610 Ulster Bank staff in the State are transferring on a phased basis to AIB and Permanent TSB as the two remaining lenders take over much of the exiting bank’s loan book. Some have already moved.

Ulster Bank had a 2,400-strong workforce in the Republic as of the end of August.

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This pay deal supplements arrangements already agreed with Ulster Bank, which included a 4 per cent pay increase last April and a 4 per cent cost-of-living pay increase in September for those earning under €45,300.

“The FSU are recommending acceptance of the deal but ultimately it will be up to the members to decide,” said Gareth Murphy, head of industrial relations and campaigns at the FSU.

“Our members in Ulster Bank have worked tirelessly in very challenging circumstances providing a professional customer-orientated service. They deserve to be properly rewarded for their work and this deal combined with other agreements provides some financial reward to support them with the rising cost of living.”

AIB is taking over more than €4 billion of corporate and commercial loans from Ulster Bank and has agreed, subject to regulatory approval, to acquire a further €5.7 billion of tracker mortgages from the departing lender. Permanent TSB is in the process of taking over close to €7 billion of mortgage and small business and asset finance loans from Ulster Bank.

Joe Brennan

Joe Brennan

Joe Brennan is Markets Correspondent of The Irish Times