300 fear for jobs as cuts announced

Nick Rabbitts

Reporter:

Nick Rabbitts

THERE are fears for many front-line banking jobs in Limerick this morning, after AIB announced it is to shed 2,000 jobs nationwide.

THERE are fears for many front-line banking jobs in Limerick this morning, after AIB announced it is to shed 2,000 jobs nationwide.

Some 300 staff in 18 bank branches across Limerick are waiting to hear news on their future following the devastating announcement, which could also see smaller branches in the city and county close.

The IBOA Finance Union has described the news as a “catastrophe”, while city north councillor Maurice Quinlivan has said he fears that the AIB branch on the Ennis Road could close, as well as one in the city centre.

However, executive chairman of AIB David Hodgkinson said the firm is not looking at a branch closure programme at the moment.

Instead, the group hopes to create a ‘pillar’ bank by reducing staff numbers, disposing of non-core assets and winding down some offerings at branches.

Minister of State Jan O’Sullivan has urged the cabinet to save as many of the front line jobs as possible.

There are eight AIB branches in the city - two in the centre, on O’Connell Street and William Street, two branches in Castletroy, including one at UL, one in Corbally, one at LIT in Moylish, one in Raheen, and one at the Ennis Road.

Job cuts look likely in all of these branches as part of the group’s cutbacks.

In its annual report, Allied Irish Banks stated it expects to cut the jobs over the next two years, after posting a record loss of €10.2bn.

Redundancies had been expected at AIB - now 92 per cent owned by the state - with bank bosses blaming toxic loans, which it did not expect to be repaid.

Spokesman for the IBOA Finance Union Seamas Sheils has confirmed there are 300 members of the union working for AIB in branches in towns across the county.

The union plans to meet Mr Hodgkinson tomorrow, as well as Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore in a bid to save some of the jobs.

“All we have heard so far is a headline figure of 2,000 job loses. What we want now is detail as to where the job losses will come, and what AIB’s rationale is. Once we get these answers, we will be engaging far more intensively in terms of securing decent severance terms for the people who eventually are to go, and the terms of the staff who remain are appropriate to the demands placed on them,” Mr Shiels told the Limerick Leader.