2 April 2009 Edition
Nuacht na nOibrithe
BY STEPHANIE LORD
Ulster Bank dispute moves to Labour Court
Ulster Bank is entering into an arbitration process after no progress has been made in negotiations with trade unions since the bank announced plans to lay off 750 of its workers. The bank announced its redundancy plans nine weeks ago as part of a restructuring programme under its owner the Royal Bank of Scotland. The same plans have already closed 45 branches of the First Active Building Society. The Labour Court is now mediating with the bank’s management and the Irish Bank Officials Association and SIPTU. The mediation will focus on voluntary redundancy payments for the workers which the bank have set at just over 7 weeks pay per year of service capped at 36 month’s salary with grants for children still in education or eight weeks pay per year of service subject to a cap of 30 month’s salary. The trade unions are seeking a combination of the two offers and various other mechanisms that would enable staff to retain their jobs should they not opt for redundancy including, career breaks and job sharing options.
Education Department accuses teachers
The 26 County Department of Education has accused the teachers’ unions of breaching social partnership agreements by not participating in parent/teacher meetings and other activities. The Teachers Union of Ireland (TUI) and the Association of Secondary Teachers Ireland (ASTI) members have been requested to withdraw from parent/teacher meetings, staff meetings and school development meetings if they are held outside of school time.
Minister for Education Batt O’Keefe said that his department considered the actions as a breach of the social partnership agreements and stated that he would be considering the matter further. This low-level industrial action appears to have resulted from the government’s embargo on appointing teachers to special duties and assistant principal jobs which TUI general secretary Peter McMenamin has said will throw the administration of schools into “absolute chaos”.