Bank of Ireland to axe further 750 jobs

BANK of Ireland is to axe a further 750 staff after receiving approval from the European Commission for a major restructuring plan.

The staff are to be made redundant over the next two years both here and in Britain.

The bank said the workforce reduction would be achieved through voluntary redundancies.

The restructuring strategy includes a plan to dispose of its life and pension division New Ireland Assurance, Bank of Ireland Asset Management and ICS Building Society.

“The bank anticipates that the reduction can be achieved over a period of two years in areas affected by business change across the group in the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland and Great Britain,” it said.

Bank of Ireland employs 14,600 people, 10,000 of whom work here.

Since 2008 it has reduced its workforce by 2,200, mainly through non-replacement of staff leaving the company.

As well as its latest purge of staff members, the bank is to maintain its pay freeze until at least April 2011.

Finance union the Irish Bank Officials’ Association (IBOA), which represents the bulk of the staff, said it would be scrutinising any specific proposals for job reductions in the hope that it can secure alternative arrangements wherever possible.

“It is incumbent on senior management to learn the lessons from past mistakes in order to bring about a fundamental change in the culture that has operated in Bank of Ireland and brought it to the brink of collapse,” said IBOA general secretary Larry Broderick.

“While the prospects for Bank of Ireland look better now than they have for some time, this will be a false dawn unless there is a restoration of traditional banking values such as prudence and integrity which place a premium on consistent service rather than short-term profit,” he added.

The IBOA will meet next week to review the European Commission report and will also examine recommendations from Martin Connaughton, the independent mediator who the bank and union agreed would facilitate lengthy negotiations between the parties on a number of major issues including job security, pay and pensions.

It will then seek a meeting with senior management at the bank.

“This redundancy plan is the next logical step for the group,” Ciaran Callaghan, analyst with Dublin-based NCB Stockbrokers told Bloomberg.

“We cannot rule out further job losses in the future and expect the other Irish banks to follow suit over the near term.”


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