More than half of frontline bank workers would back industrial action over plummeting confidence in their bosses, a survey has signalled.
The poll of almost 1,000 Unite trade union members working at Bank of Ireland, Irish Life and Permanent TSB and EBS also revealed three-quarters felt uncomfortable carrying out some customer-related actions over the past year.
Colm Quinlan, a regional officer with the union, said the findings confirmed a real lack of confidence among staff in the ability of management to rescue the once-proud Irish banking sector.
The survey found that six in 10 lower-paid bank workers did not have confidence in their management, while almost the same number said they did not enjoy their current working environment. Only 14% had any confidence in the future security of their job, and the vast majority were worried about their pension.
Asked if they would support a co-ordinated campaign of escalating industrial action in defence of their job conditions and security, almost 53% responded in favour, just over 16% ruled it out, while almost a third were undecided.
"That one in seven should feel confident about what one generation ago was considered a stable and secure job is a real indictment of the damage wreaked within banking as well as within the wider community," said Mr Quinlan.
Unite carried out the survey in the week ending last Tuesday, November 8. The union has around 5,000 members working at Bank of Ireland, Irish Life and Permanent TSB and EBS, and around 20% of those responded to the online poll.
Rob Hartnett, Unite spokesman, said the findings will help the union decide on future action. "It has given us a direction, but we are in the early stages of framing potential action and potential campaigns arising out of this," he added.
IBOA The Finance Union, which represents 22,000 bank workers, said the Unite survey broadly echoed its own findings in the summer. Its poll showed eight in 10 bank workers had no confidence in their bosses, while 77% believed their management did not operate at the highest ethical standards.
An IBOA spokesman said: "The IBOA survey revealed a profound level of alienation among staff. Even though they are being put under intense pressure at work to sell at all costs, only 27% said they would encourage friends and family to become customers and only 9% would recommend that others seek employment with their current employer."