Belfast Telegraph

Ulster Bank: Up to 100 temporary workers to make up proposed staff cuts

Bank's Northern Ireland boss addressed Stormont committee over a reduction in headcount across Ireland

By John Mulgrew

Around 100 temporary staff could be among proposed cuts to worker numbers across Ireland at the Ulster Bank, it was revealed today.

Addressing the finance committee at Stormont this afternoon, Ulster Bank's Ellvena Graham said she expected that around a third of the proposed reduction to staff numbers could be in Northern Ireland. 

The bank's boss in Northern Ireland also apologised for its handling of last week's news of the reduction in staff numbers.

She also said "wholesale branch closures" were not on the cards, after it was announced some 39 could be shut across Ireland by 2014.

Today's appearance comes after the bank confirmed that it intends to have cut its Ireland-wide staff by between 1,300 and 1,800 between 2012 and 2016.

It said last week that the figure includes 950 redundancies announced in January last year.

On Wednesday, Ms Graham was joined by colleagues Richard Ennis and Sean Murphy to discuss staff losses and branch closures across the region.

Quizzed by committee member Patsy McGlone, Ms Graham said she did not have exact figures of how any job cuts would be broken down.

The bank has said it plans on losing some of its staff through "natural attrition".

"I don't have that number to hand today," she said.

"(It) will depend on how many people leave by natural attrition."

She said she expected a similar spread to the last tranche of job cuts announced in January, with the latest proposed reduction in staff numbers - with two thirds going in the Republic and a third in Northern Ireland.

"I don't expect any more redundancies in the near term," she said.

Addressing concerns over branch closures - notably in rural areas - she said the bank had "too many" and noted a fall in their usage.

"Since 2009, our branch transactions have reduced by 10% - we know that," she said.

Ms Graham said there was "quite a bit of due diligence" used in deciding whether to shut outlets.

"We know we need to close some, because we have too many," she said.

Earlier in the meeting members of the committee also discussed concerns with members of the Consumer Council over the potential impact rural bank closures could have on communities.

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