Friday, February 21 16:18:41
As Ulster Bank employees brace themselves for a major announcement next Thursday from its parent, RBS, Group Chief Executive, Ross McEwan, has assured them they will be consulted on any deal.
He said that any further restructuring of Ulster Bank operations will be subject to negotiation with their union representatives.
In a letter to Larry Broderick, General Secretary of IBOA The Finance Union - which represents the majority of Ulster Bank's 6,500 staff, the RBS chief has confirmed that Ulster Bank is committed to operate in accordance with the Procedural Agreement recently concluded between the Bank and IBOA.
This agreement - which was ratified late last year - lays down the ground rules for future engagement and negotiation between the Union and Ulster Bank, including recourse to independent mediation if the parties cannot reach agreement on any issue.
Welcoming this confirmation from Ulster Bank's parent institution, Mr. Broderick said it would provide some degree of comfort to the Bank's employees who have been justifiably alarmed at recent media speculation that a substantial number of jobs may be under threat in Ulster Bank as a result of the operational review being conducted by RBS. Significant cuts to the branch network on the island of Ireland have also been mooted in some quarters along with the outsourcing of more of the support functions based in Dublin and Belfast to "Edinburgh and further afield."
"The prospect of further cuts to employment in Ulster Bank - on top of the 1,600 jobs already lost in the Bank in the last four years - is a source of renewed fear and anxiety for these workers who had believed that the worst of the restructuring was behind them. It is also a concern for customers who have remained loyal to Ulster Bank - despite a number of recent difficulties caused in part by the flawed provision of support services from RBS. Further cuts in the branch network, as well as outsourcing, may also affect access to services for many customers - as well as causing increased pressure on the remaining staff."
"Mr. McEwan's commitment that the existing framework will be used for negotiations on future change offers the prospect that any further restructuring might be managed with greater care and consideration for both customers and employees," added Mr. Broderick.