Union to raise fears of job cuts in banking with Department of Finance

It was forecast last week that Irish retail banks are likely to cut 20-30 per cent of roles

Deloitte Ireland forecast last week that Irish retail banks are likely to cut  as many as 7,650 positions  in the next five years.

Deloitte Ireland forecast last week that Irish retail banks are likely to cut as many as 7,650 positions in the next five years.

 

Financial Services Union (FSU) general secretary John O’Connell will raise fears over a fresh wave of job losses in the banking sector in a meeting with Department of Finance officials on Thursday.

The union has also written to Banking & Payment Federation Ireland (BPFI) chief executive Brian Hayes seeking an “urgent meeting” as it campaigns for retail banks to pause any redundancies being planned for 12 months, as the sector and economy deal with the Covid-19 crisis.

Deloitte Ireland forecast last week that Irish retail banks are likely to cut 20-30 per cent of jobs – or as many as 7,650 positions – in the next five years as the Covid-19 crisis shifts more transactions online and lenders seek to rein in costs in an era of ultra-low interest rates.

Banking sector workers have had to process almost 160,000 loan payment breaks for Irish households and businesses in recent months and must restructure many facilities in the coming months where borrowers will not be able to return to regular payments.

“The Irish banking system is effectively being run from the homes of thousands of banking staff who have transformed into home workers overnight and by branch staff deemed essential workers,” Mr O’Connell said in his letter to Mr Hayes.

“In these circumstances where banking staff have stood up to the plate and played their part in ensuring a fully-functioning banking system in the most difficult circumstances of their careers, to discover that banks are planning wholesale redundancies is neither acceptable nor is it something that we believe the Irish Government can countenance with hundreds of thousands of citizens already in receipt of state payments. There is no valid pressing reason why any redundancies must proceed at this time further burdening the state and taxpayers.”

The State retains large shareholdings in AIB, Bank of Ireland and Permanent TSB as a result of taxpayer bailouts during the financial crisis.

“The banking sector of which you are the leader must act responsibly at this time and pull back from its intended course of action and enter dialogue with FSU and all other stakeholders in engaging and agreeing a model of banking that is compatible with the vision that communities, businesses, regulators and staff have for banking in Ireland,” Mr O’Connell said.