INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2001
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
BANK OF IRELAND
- AND -
IRISH BANK OFFICIALS' ASSOCIATION
Chairman: Ms Jenkinson
Employer Member: Mr Keogh
Worker Member: Ms Ni Mhurchu
1. Rationalisation Payment - Treasury and International Banking Department.
2. The Treasury Department and The International Banking Department were merged with effect from September, 2000. The Union submitted a claim for a lump sum payment on behalf of its members in Treasury and International Banking. The Bank rejected the claim. The dispute was referred to the Labour Relations Commission. A conciliation conference was held on the 23rd of January, 2001. Agreement was not reached. The dispute was referred to the Labour Court by the Labour Relations Commission on the 10th of May, 2001. The dispute was received in the Court on the 10th of May, 2001. A Court hearing was held on the 1st of August, 2001.
3. 1. Staff in other areas of the Bank received a Rationalisation Payment as a result of rationalisation which has taken place. Other Banks have made such a payment in similar situations.
2. The staff concerned have played a significant role in making the merger a success by their input and cooperation.
3. In local discussions, the Bank created the expectation that recognition would be given to staff, for cooperation with the merger. Workers were very disappointed that, once the merger was a success, the Bank refused to make a Rationalisation Payment.
4. The Bank is very profitable and can afford to concede the payment.
4. 1. While payment is made to branch staff involved in rationalisation this is done because of the effort required in integrating both locations while at the same time continuing with business as usual and maintaining customer accounts and goodwill despite the inconvenience which may be felt by some customers as a result of the closure of "their" branch.
2. The Bank is not aware that such payments are made by other banks where departments are rationalised.
3. Given the number of staff involved (550) the costs would be excessive.
4. The making of such a payment would create an unacceptable precedent for the Bank, given that the need for immediate and cost efficient responses to market conditions is paramount.
The Court has considered the presentation made by both sides. The Court is of the view that the merger of the Treasury Department with the International Banking Department does not compare with the merger of two branches in that the level of discomfort and change associated is not comparable with that associated with the merger of two branches. While there is obviously a change of location for staff, the Court is not convinced of any other major changes to the work or the conditions as a result of the merger. Therefore,the Court does not recommend the payment of a rationalisation payment.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Tom O'Dea, Court Secretary.