Call to protect staff amid bailout
Ireland's bailout deal should not target rank-and-file workers as the banking sector is fingered for dramatic cutbacks, it has been claimed.
The Irish Bank Officials Association (IBOA) said 6,000 jobs have been lost in the banks in the two years since the crisis broke in 2008.
Larry Broderick, IBOA general secretary, called for talks with the Government and the International Monetary Fund (IMF)/European mission over the reforms it is demanding.
"If this major restructuring of the banking system is to be effective, it is vital that it secures the fullest possible buy-in from the staff who will be required to deliver it," the trade union boss said.
Finance Minister Brian Lenihan has said the banks would have to become significantly smaller.
It is expected that some of the assets of the big finance houses will be sold off while Mr Lenihan said the sector would have to focus most of its business on the domestic market.
The IBOA said it wanted proper engagement with the Government and the IMF/EU mission based on meaningful consultation, negotiation and agreement.
Mr Broderick said: "While bank officials have always recognised that some consolidation was inevitable within the banking sector, our members have become increasingly alarmed in recent days as speculation about the possible scale of this restructuring has intensified.
"It is important, therefore, that clarity is provided as soon as possible on the extent and nature of this reconfiguration of the banking sector for the sake of staff and indeed for the sake of customers," he said. "A key concern for IBOA will be to protect the maximum number of jobs within the industry at this time."
Mr Broderick added: "In contrast to the knee-jerk responses to market fluctuations which have characterised policy in more recent months, the IMF/EU intervention should now stabilise the funding position of Irish banks to allow for a more considered review of the banking system as a whole to determine what kind of framework the country needs to support economic growth and social development in the future."