100 job losses at Ulster Bank 'will hit staff and customers badly'

100 job losses at Ulster Bank 'will hit staff and customers badly'

Management at Ulster Bank have today confirmed the loss of over 100 jobs in the Republic of Ireland.

The job losses are due to a further major restructure of its retail branch network here.

Management informed the Financial Services Union (FSU) that voluntary severance will be on offer to some employees while others may be directly placed at risk of redundancy.

The FSU is opposing the restructure since, it argues, there is no sound business rationale for it.

The union claimed that any further job losses in Ulster Bank exacerbate difficulties arising from understaffing which affect both staff and customers.

"This latest restructure is going to hit both staff and customers badly," said FSU senior industrial relations officer, Gareth Murphy.

"This will not only cause difficulties for the staff who lose their jobs but also for those remaining who will face increased workloads and additional stress.

"Customers are likely to face more queues.

"Most customers who need advice, prefer to deal with a human being rather than a machine.

"Many of these queries require time and care. So withdrawing staff from this crucial interface with customers does not make any business sense.

"Ulster Bank has declared its ambition to be 'number one for customer service, trust and advocacy'. But this seems like a strange way to pursue it."

FSU general secretary Larry Broderick added: "Ulster Bank workers have faced massive restructuring in recent years, with many thousands leaving the institution so that staffing levels are now at crisis point to the detriment of employees - as confirmed through our recent survey - and to customers who need more - not less - staff in branches.

100 job losses at Ulster Bank 'will hit staff and customers badly'

"We are calling on the incoming chief executive Gerry Mallon, to make halting this restructure one of his first priorities, along with addressing the major disquiet over the possible sale of distressed mortgages to vulture funds."

"We want him to engage with us directly to address these key challenges in Ulster Bank's operations in the Republic of Ireland," said the FSU leader.

A University of Ulster survey on work-related stress - commissioned by the FSU and published at the beginning of May - identified chronic understaffing as a workplace hazard and highlighted stress as the foremost health and safety issue.

Over half (58%) of respondents report that their workplace is not appropriately staffed. Close to 70% of staff in retail banking roles reported to be at risk of poor well-being.

Overall Ulster Bank ranked in the bottom 20% of employers for its capacity to address workplace stress effectively - with its branch network operations scoring in the lowest 20% on all seven indicators used to measure work-related stress.

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