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'Very real concern' among KBC workers as bank to decide its future in Ireland on Thursday

The results of a strategic review of KBC Group’s Irish activities will be announced this coming Thursday.

Image: Mark Stedman/RollingNews.ie

WORKERS AT KBC Bank Ireland are concerned about their jobs ahead of an announcement about the future of the firm’s operations in Ireland.

The results of a strategic review of KBC Group’s Irish activities will be announced this coming Thursday as it reveals its quarter 4 and full financial results for last year.

The outcome of the review is set to decide the future of the Belgian bank’s Irish operations.

KBC Ireland faces tough challenges from its much bigger rivals – Bank of Ireland and AIB – as well as trouble because of Ireland’s constricted property market, among other things.

Depending on the results of the review, the KBC Group has indicated that there are three possible outcomes:

  1. Continue to organically grow the bank in Ireland
  2. Grow the bank with an insurance company attached
  3. Sell the bank

It’s the third option that has the more than 1,000 employees of the bank in Ireland worried.

General secretary for the Financial Services Union Larry Broderick wrote to the chair of the KBC Group on 27 January laying out an argument for why the bank should keep its Irish operations.

He also wrote about the anxiety being felt by members of the FSU who work at KBC Ireland:

As you can imagine the speculation of recent weeks regarding the future of KBC Ireland has weighed heavily on Financial Services Union members in KBC Ireland, as they consider the impact various outcomes will have on their careers and on their families.

The FSU has no negotiating rights with regards to KBC staff members.

A spokesperson told TheJournal.ie that there was “very real concern” among staff ahead of Thursday’s announcement.

“Over recent weeks we’ve responded to queries from both union members and staff who aren’t members of the union,” the spokesperson said.

“They are concerned about job security, terms and conditions in the event of a merger and their rights in a redundancy situation.

They are really the core concerns that any worker has when faced with an uncertain future.

A spokesperson for the bank told TheJournal.ie that the bank’s top priority had been to become profitable by 2016 onwards.

“The group has always stated that the first priority for Ireland is to become profitable from 2016 onwards (already achieved in 2015),” the spokesperson said.

As of then, all available options will be considered.

Read: KBC staff ‘concerned for their jobs’ as bank decides on its future in Ireland

Read: Central Bank fines KBC Bank Ireland €1.4 million for “repeated breaches” on lending codes

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About the author:

Cormac Fitzgerald

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