A UNION REPRESENTING Ulster Bank workers has suspended a ballot of its members over new pay proposals after accusing the bank of changing staff salaries without proper consultation.
The Financial Services Union (FSU) said it had taken the unprecedented step of cancelling a ballot over a new pay agreement that was reached with the bank.
The agreement was to incorporate average pay increase of 2% for workers, however some pay grades would be reduced.
The FSU said the vote was axed due to the bank already beginning to implement new salary ranges that would negatively affect staff before a final deal was struck.
The union said that implementing the salaries was not part of an agreement reached between it and the bank in negotiations overseen by independent mediator Kieran Mulvey of the Workplace Relations Commission.
It said that further engagement over proposed new salaries was needed before the bank could begin implementation.
Gareth Murphy, senior industrial relations officer with the FSU, said that the bank had been engaged in “difficult negotiations” with Ulster Bank for a number of months.
“We finally secured a deal which we felt we could recommend to staff in the bank,” he said.
“The deal secures increased pay, extends those increases to more staff than previous agreements and is weighted in favour of those on low and middle salaries.”
The union said that Mulvey recommended during negotiations that the bank publish any information on new salaries before they were implemented.
“It has now emerged that even before the ballot has concluded on the pay deal Ulster Bank is unilaterally implementing these new salary ranges,” said Murphy.
“That is in breach of both the spirit and letter of the recommendation made by Mr Mulvey. It is an appalling way to treat the loyal and dedicated staff in Ulster Bank.”
Larry Broderick, general secretary of the FSU, said it was “completely unacceptable” for the bank to start to implement the new salaries.
“If the bank doesn’t reverse its position we will have no option but to abandon the ballot and consult staff on further action and a campaign of opposition to the range cuts,” he said.
Ulster Bank has been contacted for comment. The bank reported an operating profit of €69 million in the most recent quarter, down from €74 million for the same period a year earlier.
Written by Cormac Fitzgerald and posted on TheJournal.ie