Business

Union: 600 Ulster Bank jobs under threat in Belfast are ‘salvageable'

NatWest's decision to wind down Ulster Bank in the Republic has put 600 jobs in Belfast in jeopardy.

HUNDREDS of Ulster Bank jobs in Belfast could still be saved if parent group NatWest transfers their functions over time, the Financial Services Union (FSU) has argued.

NatWest confirmed its decision in February to wind down its struggling business across the border in the next few years.

Around 600 people in Belfast are directly employed by the Ulster Bank operation in the Republic.

The Ulster Bank operation on the island was formally split by its parent group in 2015.

The FSU has already met with Finance Minister Conor Murphy and local political representatives to air its concerns.

On Wednesday, the FSU’s John O’Connell told Stormont’s economy committee that the jobs in Belfast could still be saved if NatWest takes the right steps.

“We believe those jobs are salvageable and can be saved with the right efforts and we have time on our side, because the wind down will take a considerable amount of time,” said the union general secretary.

“We really believe those jobs, in a group as big as NatWest, are potentially saveable and we have done a lot of work in terms of engagement with NatWest in that regard.

“All it requires is a decision in NatWest to transfer work to replace the work that will evaporate as the Republic of Ireland is wound down.”

The FSU has continued its calls for a banking forum to explore the major changes under way across the sector, including the considerable number of branch closures being initiated by major lenders across the island.

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