'Difficult day' for Ulster Bank staff as 813 face redundancy - including 250 in Northern Ireland

Ulster Bank's headquarters in Belfast. Picture Hugh Russell
Ulster Bank's headquarters in Belfast. Picture Hugh Russell

AROUND 250 Ulster Bank employees in Northern Ireland are facing redundancy as part of the bank's overall withdrawal process from the Irish market, according to banking union the Financial Services Union (FSU).

Owners NatWest announced a phased withdrawal from the Republic in 2021, and has just announced a further 813 redundancies.

It has been described as "a sad and difficult day for workers and their families" by Gareth Murphy, head of industrial relations and campaigns with the FSU.

He said: "These are very skilled, professional staff, who know and understand the financial needs of business and people. It is important their knowledge and skill sets are not lost to the wider financial services sector.

Mr Murphy also noted that there are shortages of staff throughout all the remaining retail banks on the island - AIB, Bank of Ireland and Permanent TSB.

"There can be no excuses offered or accepted for any retail bank to say they are having problems recruiting trained staff.

"This would be an opportune time for banks to seek to recruit and hire the skilled staff currently exiting Ulster Bank," Mr Murphy said.

He added: "Throughout this difficult process we have managed to secure improved redundancy terms and protected jobs with staff transferring to other Banks, We have also managed to secure up to 100 jobs with staff transferring to new roles within NatWest.

"But there is more that can be done. Remote working has many benefits. It opens up the possibility of staff based in Northern Ireland undertaking work across the entire NatWest network.

"NatWest is a large company employing thousands of people. There is a clear onus on NatWest to fully explore any opportunity to redeploy staff across its network."

The FSU said it will continue to support its members over the coming days and months.

In a statement on the northern workers to the Irish News earlier this month, an Ulster Bank spokesman said: “Ulster Bank will continue to open redundancy programmes in 2023 and beyond as the work reduces or ceases due to our withdrawal from the Republic of Ireland and this will include colleagues in Northern Ireland employed by Ulster Bank in the Republic.

“We continue to update our colleagues on this. Our Northern Ireland colleagues in scope to transfer to AIB are doing so as part of an ongoing process while other colleagues may continue to find redeployment opportunities across NatWest Group over the coming months.”