4,000 possible job losses in banks and Eircom

THE welcome announcement of 300 fuel garage jobs today will do little to soften the blow of 4,000 looming job losses in the bank and telecoms sectors.

While a few hundred jobs in Leinster service stations will be made public today, anxious workers at the country’s two biggest banks and largest telecoms group remain in the dark over a reported massive jobs cull in both sectors.

Opposition TDs said the potential shedding of 2,000 jobs at Bank of Ireland and Allied Irish Bank and another 2,000 at Eircom was another black day for employment brought about by bad policy.

The companies remained tight-lipped about the speculated job cuts, but all three did not rule out future redundancies.

Bank of Ireland, which is expecting a decision on its restructuring plans from Brussels by the end of this month, said it had been aligning its costs with “new lower levels of business activity throughout the group”.

A spokeswoman added when asked about the reported 1,000 jobs cuts: “Cost reduction is a major ongoing priority for Bank of Ireland and all options will be considered as part of this objective.”

Already staff numbers at the bank are down 8% or by 1,300 to 14,755 since December 2008.

Allied Irish Bank said it had “no advance plans” to cut jobs. Its interim annual results are expected on August 4 and group managing director Colm Doherty already indicated in January that AIB would operate as a smaller bank.

AIB refused to comment further on reports of severance packages for 1,000 staff at its own bank.

The Irish Bank Officials’ Association said there had been no “substantive discussions” with either bank on job cuts. The union was in talks with Bank of Ireland over minimising any future job cuts but cautioned both banks about “adopting the knee-jerk approach of simply cutting staff”.

Meanwhile, amid speculation that Eircom will also shed 2,000 jobs, the embattled telecommunications company admitted it was having “regular discussions” with staff over its transformation. Up to 900 staff have already gone under a current round of redundancies, but the company said it needed to continue with changes to be more competitive.

The future of the remaining 8,067 staff at Eircom may become clearer when it publishes its full year results at the end of August.

Fine Gael’s Richard Bruton claimed the potential job losses showed both sectors had been “cocked up by bad oversight and incompetence” by the Government.

Elsewhere, 300 jobs have been announced for Applegreen Motorway Service Areas in Dublin, Meath and Westmeath. The first of the fuel and retail sites are in Leinster, but planning is under way for service areas in Munster which could create further jobs.


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