AIB seeks up to 150 redundancies from long-serving staff

Plan prompts union concerns on future of AIB structure and impact on staffing levels

AIB  employs about 10,550 staff in total, down from  nearly   26,000 in 2008.  Photograph: Eric Luke

AIB employs about 10,550 staff in total, down from nearly 26,000 in 2008. Photograph: Eric Luke

 

AIB has opened up a voluntary severance scheme for staff working in branches and business centres who have service of 15 years or more.

It is not clear how many employees will leave the bank under this process. AIB said it had not put a figure on the number of redundancies while the Financial Services Union (FSU), which represents most of the bank’s staff, said a maximum reduction of 150 had been agreed with the company.

This will be the first severance scheme since 2013 in what AIB terms as its “local markets” operation.

The bank, which is 99.9 per cent owned by the State, employs about 10,550 staff in total.

In 2008, the group employed just fewer than 26,000 staff, including overseas operations in the United States and Poland. It is estimated that some 2,500 Irish-based staff have been made redundant since then.

In a statement AIB said: “There is an opportunity for a limited number of staff to avail of voluntary severance and therefore we have decided to open a programme now.

“There are no branch closures or reductions in hours associated with this change. AIB opened three new outlets in 2015 as well as launching a joint venture with SuperValu, and we have just extended opening hours in several Cork branches as well as our Grafton Street flagship location.”

The FSU said departing staff would receive four weeks’ pay per year of service but expressed concerns about AIB’s plan, particularly in light of current staff shortages across the bank’s network of branches.

Union concerns

Billy Barrett, senior industrial relations officer with the FSU, said: “While the redundancies are being carried out under agreed terms, the FSU is concerned about the future structure of AIB and the impact on staffing levels across the network.

“We have sought assurances from the bank that the current round of redundancies will not add to the already increased workload and stress on members in AIB.”

Larry Broderick, the FSU’s general secretary, said: “The current proposals are limited, but the union is seeking further discussions on the future direction of the bank and its impact on members. FSU has raised issues about AIB’s focus on offering redundancy to long-serving staff, which is leading to a steady decline in the availability of experienced bankers.

“The union has also expressed a concern that promotional opportunities for remaining staff will be limited or non-existent.”

Separately, AIB subsidiary, Haven Mortgages Ltd, substantially increased its profit last year due largely to writebacks on impaired loans.

Accounts just filed by Haven show it made a profit €24.4 million in 2015 compared with €3.2 million in the previous year. This was in spite of a 20 per cent decline in its total operating income to €21.9 million.

Haven recorded loan writebacks last year of €8.2 million compared with impairments of €20.6 million in 2014.

The lender was established by EBS in 2007 and became a subsidiary of AIB four years later when the former building society was merged with the bank by the State.