Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland

EBS cancels Christmas payments for staff

Staff are balloting for strike action after the building society said there would be no traditional Christmas payment for employees. The payment has been made every year for the past 45 years.

STAFF AT EBS are to ballot for strike action after being told they will not receive their traditional Christmas payment this year.

There were angry scenes at the company’s head office in Dublin today when staff were told that their Christmas payment had been stopped with no notice.

The payment, a ’13th month’ amount, equivalent to one month’s salary, was due to be included in pay packets this week. The provision is specified in employees’ contracts.

The payment has been made every year for the past 45 years.

It is not performance-related but is an annual payment paid at the end of each year.

The building society is instead offering staff interest-free loans worth a month’s salary.

“They claim the payment is a bonus but that was never the case,” said UNITE Regional Officer Colm Quinlan. “Management have sorted themselves out and left staff in the freezing cold in the week before Christmas”.

Even Scrooge would not have stooped as low as this.

UNITE trade union said that the non-payment of the December wage only applied to staff at or below assistant manager grades, who earn on average around €30,000.

However the company disputes this, saying that no bonuses of any kind of been paid to management since 2008.

EBS also said that it regretted “the timing of the communication”.

370 people will be affected by the non-payment of the bonus amount, according to the building society.

The company says the payment was stopped by a combination of AIB and the Department of Finance.

EBS was merged into AIB in July of this year. The government owns the vast majority of AIB and has forbidden bonus payments of any kind to staff.

Balloting for industrial action by staff is expected to be completed by next Tuesday.

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