News & Media

Government must reign in Bank of Ireland over redundancy plans

5 August 2020

Statement by Ged Nash TD
Spokesperson on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform
Ged

The Government must immediately rein in Bank of Ireland management according to Labour Finance Spokesperson Ged Nash who was speaking after the announcement that the bank plans to slash 1,400 jobs over the coming years.

The Louth & East Meath TD said the announcement is absolutely unacceptable considering the State holds a significant shareholding in the institution, which will potentially leave thousands of workers on the scrapheap.

Deputy Nash said:

“The Minister for Finance needs to haul in the banks, and in particular Bank of Ireland, to tell them that this type of practice is absolutely unacceptable.

“No business should be allowed to use COVID-19 as cover to restructure in the perceived short term interests of shareholders while showing the door to hundreds of loyal staff.

“This is especially the case for an institution previously bailed out by the taxpayer and in which the State still holds a 14% equity stake.

“The banking sector has a wider economic and social responsibility beyond its immediate bottom line. They need to pull back from pursuing this plan and engage with Financial Services Union representatives immediately.

“Banking staff across the sector have played a huge frontline role throughout this pandemic. They have processed 160,000 loan payment breaks for households and businesses over the last few months and will be essential in terms of assisting hard pressed customers over the coming months of uncertainty. 

Nash continued:

“It is completely disingenuous to publicly praise essential workers on one hand, and make them expendable on the other.

“We need action from one of their key shareholders, in this case the Minister for Finance.

“I would also question, given the State’s shareholding in Bank of Ireland, whether the Government was aware of this proposal beforehand, and if it gave management the nod to go ahead with these devastating redundancies.

“My fear is that this is the thin end of the wedge and where Bank of Ireland lead, others may feel they have carte blanche to follow.

“Labour is demanding a 12-month moratorium on redundancies for bank workers. Government also must make a clear statement about the consequences banks will face if they act against the public interest during this public health crisis. Bank of Ireland’s announcement today will send shockwaves through the sector. The plan is short sighted and unacceptable and the government must rein them in and hold them to account.”