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Bank of Ireland plans to cut 1,400 jobs from its workforce

It comes after the bank posted a pre-tax loss of €669 million in its half-year results this morning.

Image: Leah Farrell

BANK OF IRELAND plans to shed 1,400 jobs.

The announcement comes after the bank incurred a pre-tax loss of €669 million in the first six months of 2020, according to its interim results, posted this morning.

Speaking on a call with analysts this morning, BoI chief executive Francesca McDonagh unveiled plans to cut 1,400 jobs from its current workforce of 10,400.

A spokesperson for the bank said, “We have launched a group-wide voluntary redundancy programme to colleagues this morning. Into the medium term, we anticipate a headcount of fewer than 9,000 within the group from our current position of under 10,400.”

The Financial Services Union (FSU) has now written to the Taoiseach and to the bank, asking for a pause on the redundancies.

In a statement, FSU general secretary John O’Connell said, “Bank of Ireland branches form a vital part of the retail network in our communities.

“Any redundancies could potentially lead to branch closures. This is why we need to see a pause now on proposals to allow for an examination of the full effect of redundancies.”

Reacting to the announcement on RTÉ’s Today with Sarah McInerney programme, O’Connell said the union was “extremely disappointed and angry” with the decision.

“From our point of view, it’s one of the biggest cultural missteps in banking history in Ireland and the reason we say that is we’re in the middle of a pandemic,” he said.

“As our members and Bank of Ireland staff focus on the one thing the whole country is focusing on — which is getting our children safely back to school — the bank announces an exit package, and tells people they’ve to make their minds up in 4 weeks”. 

The job cut announcement was made following an appearance by McDonagh on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland programme this morning.

Asked why McDonagh did not mention the planned redundancies during her interview, a BoI spokesperson told TheJournal.ie, “The voluntary redundancy programme was being announced to colleagues this morning. We made it a priority to ensure that colleagues would be briefed on this first.” 

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Earlier today, the bank released its half-year results, revealing a €669 million pre-tax loss after setting aside €937 million to cover various pandemic-related costs including potential bad loans.

In the report, McDonagh said, “Covid-19 has had a material impact on the Group’s financial performance and outlook.

“However, there is much uncertainty related to Covid-19, in particular the risk of a second wave and the timeline for a vaccine to become widely available.

“As a result, the longer-term impacts of Covid-19 on the economy and the Group’s financial performance remain uncertain; our medium-term targets should therefore no longer be considered current in these circumstances.”

Bank of Ireland’s largest single shareholder is the Irish government, which holds a 14% stake in the bank.

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