Union to meet Central Bank over staff ‘hot desking’ concerns
Unite says bank has reneged on pledge that all staff would have desks in North Wall HQ
The Central Bank said its rules about desk-sharing are similar to those in other modern organisations. Photograph: Aidan Crawley
Central Bank management are to meet trade union officials over a controversial plan to require some staff to share desks, following a significant increase in staff numbers over the last year.
The union, Unite, claims the bank has reneged on a pledge made before its move from Dame Street to North Wall Quay that all full-time staff would have their own desks.
The Central Bank said it was “evaluating options for limited desk sharing to ensure we make efficient and effective use of our physical environment in our North Wall Quay campus and to cater for our staff numbers”.
“The pilot is based on maximising use of vacant desks when colleagues are absent from the office due to supervisory inspections, business travel, planned annual leave/flexi-time absences or home-working arrangements,” it said.
In a note to staff this week, however, Unite claimed colleagues were “losing their right to their own desk” and said senior management had “failed to plan ahead” to ensure that it had enough space to house nearly 2,000 staff.
Last week, it was reported that the bank has decided to sell its Spencer Dock building in the International Financial Services Centre (IFSC), which it bought for €104 million in 2015.
Meanwhile, it intends to buy two buildings being developed beside its North Wall Quay headquarters – which would give it enough room to increase staff numbers by 300.
It moved from Dame Street after it bought and finished off a building once intended to be the home of Anglo-Irish Bank. In all, the building, designed to house 1,400 staff, cost €140 million. Last July, however, the bank had 1,800 staff.
Unite said the announcement at a meeting of all staff last week that the bank will now purchase the two buildings at North Wall Quay was an “admission” that it had failed to plan ahead.
Five hundred contractors are currently hired by the Central Bank, senior management have told Unite, which raised serious questions about the cost of such contracts.
Unite has asked that some staff should be able to work from home “in order to free up more desks on a voluntary basis”. Union officials will meet staff next month.
The Central Bank says that up to a third of desks are free most working days because staff are away on other duties, adding that it is piloting “a localised desk-sharing arrangement on a limited basis”.
“This model ensures that all staff attending for work at our campus always have a desk to work from that is in close proximity to their team colleagues – there is no question of staff not having a desk,” it added.
Its rules about desk-sharing are similar to those in other modern organisations , said the Central Bank, adding that its “campus is designed to support this option into the long term”.