Bank IT staff vote no to outsourcing offer

25 Jul 2003

Angry Bank of Ireland IT staff have voted to reject revised proposals to outsource the bank’s IT management services to Hewlett-Packard, prompting fresh fears that a work stoppage looms.

On Tuesday, workers at the bank’s ITSIS division deferred a one-day strike action due to take place on Wednesday, in order to allow the 300 staff to ballot on revised terms for the outsourcing contract.

Under the terms of the original agreement, 300 staff at the bank’s IT subsidiary ITSIS were due to become HP employees. However bank IT workers threatened industrial action because they feared for the future security of their jobs following the announcement of the deal, a major €600m IT outsourcing contract between the Bank of Ireland and HP which was announced earlier this year.

Although the bank’s deal with HP is due to last for seven years, it is understood that the bank’s IT workers were only offered contracts guaranteeing a maximum service of two years. It is understood that in addition, full income would be guaranteed for a third year if the workers were to lose their jobs.

The Bank of Ireland has proposed giving affected workers €3,500 as well as an additional €400 for every year of service. The bank has also promised that any worker made redundant during the seven-year lifetime of the deal would be awarded six weeks pay per combined year of service to a maximum of two years’ pay.

However, this afternoon’s ballot results show that the staff had “overwhelmingly” rejected the revised proposals. The ITSIS staff are now set to stage a 24-hour work stoppage from midnight next Thursday until midnight next Friday. The key sticking point for the workers was Bank of Ireland’s failure to guarantee that staff would be re-employed by the bank if the outsourcing project failed.

By John Kennedy