Belfast Telegraph

Axed bank staff may be allowed to retire early

By David Elliott & Laura Noonan

First Trust owner AIB is re-examining the possibility of including an 'early retirement' option in its upcoming round of 2,000 redundancies, the Irish Bank Officials Association (IBOA) has said.

It expects details of the redundancies, including how many jobs will be cut in Northern Ireland at First Trust, to be revealed before the end of March.

Reports suggested earlier this week that 400 jobs would go at First Trust but a spokesperson for AIB said "talk about specific numbers in specific areas at this stage is purely speculation".

IBOA chief Larry Broderick said AIB had not yet agreed terms with the department. Significant discussions remained to be had around the issue of early retirement in particular.

"Early retirement is something we've always been looking for as part of a package," he said. "AIB has come back to us now and said they'll go to the department and explore options."

Mr Broderick stressed that early retirement would need approval by AIB's pension trustees, so it was "hard to see" how anything may be progressed imminently.

It's thought the bank will offer three weeks' wages for every year of service.

Meanwhile, sources close to Bank of Ireland denied reports that the bank would announce 1,000 redundancies this week, stressing that the bank hadn't even reached a deal with the Department of Finance on redundancy terms.

Bank of Ireland is 400 cuts into a programme to cut 750 jobs. Chief executive Richie Boucher has refused to rule out further cuts.

Mr Broderick added that staff at Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (formerly Anglo Irish Bank) would be "appalled" at revelations about the bank's former management.

Recent reports said former chief David Drumm likened himself to film character Jerry Maguire and boasted "show me the money" at a 2007 management meeting.