Joe Higgins MEP supports Ulster Bank workers

Attack on working conditions can be defeated

Socialist Party MEP, Joe Higgins has opposed attempts by Ulster Bank to impose new inferior contracts and pensions on staff.

Commenting on the attempt to reduce pay and diminish working conditions, he declared:

“The staff are being made pay for a crisis that the senior management of the bank created. Ulster Bank’s contempt towards the unions shows that they are trying to create ‘Ryanair’ style working conditions in the bank. If they are successful the other banks will follow, slashing pay and pensions.

“The senior management of Ulster Bank, like their colleagues in the other banks, bear a large part of the responsibility for the fuelling of the property speculation during the Celtic Tiger years. They played their part in pushing up the prices of homes and making property speculators wealthy on the backs of ordinary people. Yet, the bank staff, the vast majority of whom are on very modest pay and played no role in causing the crisis, are made to pay the price.

“Ulster Bank axed 1,000 jobs this year. They now want to cap pensionable salary, reduce pay and seriously undermine conditions of employment. The Bank’s new contract would mean lower wages and poverty pensions.

“It’s important that all finance workers oppose these developments. All the other banks want to follow the path of Ulster Bank. They want to use the recession as an excuse to reduce their workers’ pay and conditions and to break the unions. Ulster Bank management are determined to smash the unions . They have shown nothing but contempt to the staff by not seriously engaging in talks and then unilaterally pulling out.

“I support the Ulster Bank/First Active staff in opposing this attack on their working conditions and pensions. The IBOA and SIPTU are correct to advise staff not to sign the new contract. The unions should now plan to mobilise their membership to defend working conditions, rather than solely relying on legal cases to defeat the Bank.”