AROUND 300 STAFF at the State-owned building society EBS are beginning strike action today over the institution’s withholding of a ’13th month’ Christmas payment.
The payment – the equivalent to four weeks’ wages – is worth between €1,000 and €2,500 per employee, and was usually given to employees alongside their December pay, but was this year withheld without notice.
UNITE, who has organised the strikes in Dublin and Limerick, says the payment has been made every year for the last 45 years – and that some senior management, who had been given an opportunity to restructure their pay, are still in receipt of the payment.
EBS disputes this, however, saying management at the building society have not received any bonuses since the introduction of the State banking guarantee in 2008.
It also says that the 13th month payment is effectively a bonus, despite it not being performance-related.
EBS says it cannot pay to any employee since it was subsumed into AIB earlier this year. AIB is almost fully State-owned, with a ban on bonuses forming part of the State’s investment deal.
Staff have been offered interest-free loans, to the value of the Christmas payment, in lieu of the bonus. 370 staff are affected by the withholding of the payment.
Workers are picketing at the EBS headquarters in Dublin, as well as at branches in Tallaght in Limerick.