BoI could shed up to 200 jobs as it closes support centres

Bank of Ireland has announced that it will close 27 “operational support centres” around the country which employ 419 people.

The centres, which are usually above or connected to the bank’s branches and carry out administration and project functions, will be wound down by the end of 2018. As many as 200 people could leave the company.

A spokesman said the move was as a result of “streamlining our organisation, and increasing our focus on customer facing roles”.

At the same time, the bank said it is looking to fill 160 roles in its branches and contact centres in order to improve direct services to customers.

The spokesman said the company will seek expressions of interest from those people being let go from the operational support centres for those roles.

He said otherwise they will be able to apply for other roles across the company or take voluntary “parting” or early retirement.

Services in the company’s 250 branches will not be impacted by the closure of support centres. The spokesman said one-to-one meetings will be held with affected staff over the coming weeks.

However, the Financial Services Union said it was opposed to the closure of the 27 service centres.

It said that while there will be opportunities for a proportion of staff to redeploy, “their future is unclear and this is a major concern for FSU and their members”.

“Our primary concern is for our members continued employment in the counties and communities they have loyally served for many years,” said FSU industrial relations officer Maeve Brehony.

“FSU have been challenging the bank on staffing levels throughout the retail network for a considerable time now. We simply do not accept that a significant number of job losses is tenable.”

The union’s general secretary Dermot Ryan, said: “We have an agreement in place with Bank of Ireland that any redundancies will be on a voluntary basis. However, this shouldn’t be taken to mean that we will accept any level of redundancy once it adheres to that agreement.

A narrow focus on short-sighted cost reductions is bad for staff, bad for customers and bad for the communities they serve.

"Achieving commercial goals, in a profitable bank like Bank of Ireland, need not entail closing service centres and proposing significant job losses. In the coming weeks our Union will be making this clear to Bank of Ireland and we will be fighting to retain our members’ jobs.”

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