Some 83pc of computer staff at the Bank of Ireland’s IT operation in Cabinteely, Co Dublin, have voted in favour of all-out industrial action, presaging a summer of crippling discontent at the financial institution.
The move follows the decision by Bank of Ireland to outsource its computer function to Hewlett-Packard (HP). Some 94pc of workers voted for some kind of industrial action. Members of the Irish Bank Official Association (IBOA) gave two weeks notice for action.
Under the deal, which is worth in the region of €600m over six years, 350 IT employees in the Republic and close to 150 IT workers in Northern Ireland and the UK will become HP employees. This will see staff moved to the US within the next six months.
Larry Broderick, general secretary of the IBOA, said: “This is a most significant development and testifies to the huge concern among staff of Bank of Ireland ITSIS about their future. HP had apparently acknowledged that this contract is worth over US$600m over several years, yet staff have been totally ignored by both the bank and HP.
He added: “It is hoped that Bank of Ireland and HP would now start to respect the legitimate concerns of staff in relation to the future of their jobs and terms and conditions of employment.”
The key issue for IBOA members in Bank of Ireland is to ensure that no change takes place until there has been full negotiations and agreement with IBOA members.
Following a drawn-out tendering process Bank of Ireland is understood to have chosen HP over IBM. Bank of Ireland was originally planning to align its IT management with that of rival bank AIB. However, EU fears of anti-competitive practices that may result helped cause the discussions to collapse. Representatives from the IBOA are due to meet with bank management on Tuesday.
By Suzanne Byrne