'Shellshocked and devastated' IBRC staff thought they had years of work left: IBOA

The general secretary of the Irish Bank Officials Association (IBOA) has accused the Government of "shafting" the 1,000 staff at IBRC.

Larry Broderick said IBRC workers faced great uncertainty about their jobs since the overnight liquidation of the bank, and about the terms and conditions that could be attached to new contracts with NAMA.

The IBOA said KPMG had agreed to meet them to discuss the impact liquidation would have on staff.

Mr Broderick said the Government made a commitment to the workers at IBRC, and that it should be honoured.

"They are ordinary workers like you and I. They have jobs and families," he said.

"They were asked to do a task a number of years ago to wind down the company for the Government.

"They stood up to the wheel and said they would do that and were told that if they did so they would get reasonable terms of redundancy as anyone else in the industry would get, and (that their) pay and terms and conditions (would be protected).

"They're now being told that the Government has achieved its goal and they (the workers) are being shafted."

The IBOA represents about 350 of the 1,000 IBRC workers. The bank has about 800 staff in the south, with the remaining 200 located in the North, the UK and globally. About half of the total number of staff are on permanent staff contracts, with the remainder on short-term contracts.

Seamus Sheilds of the IBOA said staff knew the bank was in wind-down, but believed they had a number of years - perhaps as many as eight years - left to work before the wind-down was complete.

"There was an expectation as the bank wound down that staff would leave on a phased basis, and that has happened over the last two years or so," he said.

He said staff were "shellshocked and devastated" today.

"There was no indication for staff yesterday that their situation was going to change so dramaticaly overnight…They knew eventually the jobs would go, but a strategic plan had been agreed, so there was a timeline available to people.

"It was supposed to be a controlled descent by IBRC. It's all the more shocking then that on your way home, you discover on the news that it appears your employment situation is going to change dramatically."

He said there were many unresolved issues, including:

- The staff's current 'limbo' situation, where they had been asked to work normally, but had been told they no longer had work contracts;

- How many IBRC staff would be offered jobs with NAMA;

- What the terms and conditions of their employment would be;

- What redundancy terms would be offered to those to whom new positions were not available.

Sheilds added that "it should have been possible" to give some advance warning to staff.

"Some preparation must have taken place (to draw up) a 50-page piece of legislation," he said.

"It seems to us it should have been possible to devise some means of communicating to staff in a more controlled way that a change was on the way…That should have been possible."

The IBOA hopes to begin talks with the bank's liquidator in the next 24 to 48 hours.

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