Union expresses concern over Danske Bank’s return to office directive

Danske Bank's Belfast headquarters. Picture by Hugh Russell
Danske Bank's Belfast headquarters. Picture by Hugh Russell

The Financial Services Union (FSU) has expressed concern over a directive from Danske Bank, which it states will reduce the amount of time staff can work from home.

Staff at the north’s biggest lender have been working two days per week in the office since July 2022, with the other three days left to their discretion.

But the union said a directive will require Danske Bank staff to return to the office at least three times per week from January 1 2024.

The FSU said office-based teams have also been asked to agree to designate one day per week as an anchor day.

It said the new working practice will require staff to spend at least 60% of their working week in base locations.

Mandy La Combre, senior industrial relations officer with the FSU, said the current hybrid model has been working well for staff, with the bank expressing no problems with productivity.

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“This is a decision being foisted on staff without any proper consultation and without really taking into account the work life balance that employees now deem as critical,” said the union officer.

“The initial feedback from our members in Danske Bank is one of concern."

Just two weeks ago, Danske Bank announced a pre-tax profit of £152.2 million for the first nine months of 2023, marking a 91% increase on the same period last year.

“A proper and detailed analysis is required from the bank in relation to the necessity for this unilateral change," continued Ms La Combre.

“The FSU have issued a survey to all our members in Danske Bank to ascertain how widespread the concern is.

“When we receive the feedback from across all our membership, we will then contact the Bank looking for an urgent meeting to resolve any outstanding concerns.”

In a statement, a spokesperson for Danske Bank said: “Many of our colleagues in branches and other areas continue to work at bank locations five days a week.

“For colleagues who benefit from the ability to work flexibly, we have confirmed this will continue next year, though with the requirement of a minimum three days at office base locations.

“This organisational change does not come into effect until January, as we wanted to give colleagues time to make any necessary arrangements required to adjust to the forthcoming working model.”