Business

FSU renews calls for clarity over future of Ulster Bank jobs in Northern Ireland

Permanent TSB has signed a potential deal to buy some elements of Ulster Bank's business in the Republic.

THE Financial Services Union (FSU) has renewed its concerns over the future of around 600 Ulster Bank jobs in Belfast after its parent owner NatWest signed a non-binding memorandum of understanding (MoU) to sell part of its operation in the Republic to Permanent TSB.

The deal, potentially worth around €7.6 billion (£6.5bn), could see parts of Ulster Bank's retail and SME business in the Republic move to Permanent TSB.

It follows NatWest's decision to wind down the Ulster Bank operation in the Republic.

But it could also see NatWest take up to a 20 per cent stake in Permanent TSB.

Around 400-500 jobs and 25 branches are expected to transfer, should the deal go through.

But there are still questions over the future of around 600 NatWest staff in Belfast, employed directly by the Ulster Bank operation in the Republic.

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

It's understood that a small number of the Belfast jobs could be affected by the Permanent TSB deal.

The FSU said while it welcomed the positive steps in saving hundreds of jobs and more than two dozen branches in the Republic, it said there are still many unanswered questions.

The union's general secretary, John O'Connell, said: “We have reached out to the Minister for Finance in Northern Ireland, Conor Murphy MLA to brief him on the announcement and to ask him to contact NatWest requesting assurances on job certainty for Ulster Bank staff based in Belfast.”

The Irish News revealed last month that only a very small number of Ulster Bank staff in Belfast would transfer to AIB after the latter agreed to buy the NatWest-owned lender's €4.2 billion (£3.6bn) corporate and commercial loan book in the Republic.

The actual jobs figure has yet to be disclosed.

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