Ireland: Pay settlements in banking and financial services

Employees at the Bank of Ireland are to get their first pay rise in six years. It’s one of a number of pay settlements in the banking and financial services sector.

The Bank of Ireland is one of the state-dependent banks which emerged from the recent crisis. The settlement applies to all its 12,000 staff employed on 1 December 2014, who will receive a rise of 1.75% with effect from 1 December 2014, backdated to 1 July 2014. They will receive a further 2% with effect from 1 January 2015, for a 12-month period. In addition, they were given a lump sum payment equivalent to 5% of their annual salary with their December 2014 salary.

The General-Secretary of the bank officials’ union, IBOA, said the recently recommended wage rise at Bank of Ireland should set a precedent for other financial institutions ‘which are now returning to profitability and facing similar issues in terms of career and reward structures for their employees following the extensive changes that have taken place in the sector in the wake of the banking crisis’.

At Ulster Bank, a new ‘performance matrix’ for 2015 has been introduced for all appointed and clerical and fixed-term contract staff effective from 1 April.

The deal will provide wage increases ranging from 1.75% to 8% for staff at the reference salary of the matrix or below, performing at a rating of three or better. There will be increases ranging from 0% to 2% for staff above the reference salary with a rating of three or better. The agreement is subject to a minimum underpinning payment of €250 for any staff member below 120% of the reference salary, with a performance rating of three or better.

The offer also involves a one-off payment of €700 for 2014 for all appointed and clerical and fixed-term contract staff in the Republic of Ireland who were employed on 31 December 2013 and were still employed at the date of payment.

At financial service company, Irish Life, a pay increase of 2%, effective from 1 April 2014, was set out by the Labour Court in its final recommendation on a pay dispute at the company. In its final call on pay and other industrial relations matters at Irish Life – its second recommendation since May 2014 – the court outlined that staff should get a 12-month, 2% pay increase, with effect from 1 April 2014. This effective date is the same as the originally proposed date for a 2% pay increase by the company but which, following the court’s prior recommendation in May, was then applied – on a ‘without prejudice’ basis – with effect from 1 August 2014.

Also forming part of the deal is the unfreezing of increments in light of a new pay structure that is proposed at Irish Life. The court said that one increment should be applied to staff who have not reached the maximum of their current scale. Pay levels should then move in line with the new agreed structure from 1 April 2015 onwards.

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