The Financial Services Union is opposing moves by Ulster Bank to move 51 jobs from Belfast to England.
The union says the bank is proposing to close its debt management service in Belfast and move 51 roles to Birmingham and Rotherham and that a reorganisation in its call centre operations may also see another three positions lost.
Gareth Murphy, Senior Industrial Relations Official with the FSU, Gareth Murphy said: “This is a bad proposal – for both staff and customers. We have requested that the Bank put this proposal on hold and review its serious implications in co-operation with the FSU.
“Up to 51 jobs in debt management are at risk from this proposal. The Bank has failed to provide a convincing rationale for this proposal. Nor has it addressed concerns we have highlighted arising from previous failed off-shoring. This appears to be solely a cost cutting measure. However, Ulster Bank in Northern Ireland made a pre-tax profit of £58m last year. Staff are contributing hugely to the improved fortunes of the Bank – they do not deserve this type of treatment.”
This move will also concern Ulster Bank customers because debt management is very sensitive and involves establishing a relationship with a customer during times of financial difficulty when, for instance, their home may be at risk.
“Having local, experienced staff is vital during such a process.”
He added: “Ulster Bank’s ambition is to be ‘Number 1’ for customer service, trust and advocacy. Our union has challenged the Bank to explain how this proposal adheres to the standards it has set for itself, its staff and its customers.”
An Ulster Bank spokesman said: “As part of our ongoing efforts to build a strong and sustainable bank, we are seeking 51 redundancies from our Debt Management Operations team and 13 from our Contact Centre team. We will also be creating 10 new roles in our Contact Centre Team as a result of these changes.
“We will aim to complete this process on a voluntary basis and we expect to be able to offer redeployment opportunities for all impacted employees. We are communicating directly with members of staff to explain the next steps to them.”