STAFF AT THE state-owned building society EBS are to hold a second day of strike action next over the institution’s withholding of a ’13th month’ payment for lower-paid staff last month.
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.
The UNITE trade union says the payment was withheld from lower-paid staff this year, without notice, even though it has been made every year for the last 45 years.
This second day of strike action next Tuesday – which follows a day of action on December 20 – will see workers picket the Ballsbridge headquarters of EBS’s parent AIB, which took over EBS last year, as well as EBS headquarters and branches in Dublin and Limerick.
UNITE regional officer Colm Quinlan said the 370-or-so workers who were affected by the withholding of the payment were “in no mood to back down”.
“The decision by EBS management, AIB or the Department of Finance was wrong. To have announced it two weeks before Christmas, having previously confirmed the payment would be made was cruel.”
The union also claims that staff above the Assistant Manager grade at EBS were given an opportunity to restructure their pay so that they could keep the payment, but that no lower-paid staff were given a similar option.
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.
The payment is not performance related, but is considered by the government to be a ‘bonus’ – meaning it cannot be paid under the terms of the government’s takeover of AIB.