Ulster Bank has confirmed it is to cut around 60 jobs and end Saturday opening at a number of branches across the province.
Stressing that the redundancies were planned on a strictly voluntary basis, a spokesman for the bank said the move was part of “our ongoing efforts to build a strong and sustainable bank.”
However, the finance union, the IBOA, said it was “extremely concerned” about the impact on customers as well as the increased workload for remaining staff.
Branches due to stop opening on Saturday mornings from May 14 are: Armagh, Ballymena, Bangor, Coleraine, Downpatrick, Dungannon, Enniskillen, Magherafelt, Newtownards, Omagh and Portadown.
“The Union has for some time now been raising the issue of understaffing in the branch network which has resulted in lengthening the queues for customers,” said a spokesman.
“The latest development will only exacerbate existing difficulties and undermine Ulster Bank’s ambition of being “number one for customer service, trust and advocacy.”
In a communication to members, the Union has also highlighted the likelihood that the problems identified in a recent stress audit of staff in Ulster Bank will increase as a result of this move.
“Staff in retail banking are the human face of Ulster Bank who engage directly with customers every minute of every day.
“They know the challenges customers face and do their utmost to help and provide quality service to customer,” said Union General Secretary, Larry Broderick.
“Reducing the number of staff in these crucial roles is not sustainable in the long term. It is being driven by a short-term cost-cutting agenda,” he said.
IBOA lead negotiator in Ulster Bank, Gareth Murphy added: “Remaining staff are being made to pay once again.”