So, you’re an employee of Irish Bank Resolution Corporation, or at least you were until two weeks ago when the Government appointed a Special Liquidator to that bank.
Now, you’re on a three-month contract, and you just might have the chance to join NAMA in August 2013, when the Agency will pick up any loans remaining unsold over the next six months. The betting on here is that at least 300 of the 1,000 IBRC staff will eventually be made redundant and they can look forward to statutory redundancy at the rate of two weeks for each completed year of service plus an additional week, all capped at €600 per week.
Meanwhile, should you be ultimately employed by NAMA, remember all NAMA staff earning over €200,000 have waived 15% of their salaries, whilst 30 IBRC staff, when presented with the same request, gave the finger to finance minister, Michael Noonan. So, even if you do get a job at NAMA, you may face a pay cut, and remember NAMA pays practically no bonuses at present.
So, if you are now working for IBRC, you probably aren’t the most motivated or committed worker, and who can blame you for having an eye on your future after the three month contract expires.
There are credible reports being received on here now that certain former IBRC employees might be displaying some personal initiative in offering their skills and knowledge to potential buyers of IBRC assets. There is nothing untoward about some of these contacts – if you’re facing a high probability of redundancy, then you should be looking to safeguard your income and career, so of course you will be looking for work, and talking to potential employers.
But, where there are grounds for concern, is in the possibility that privileged inside knowledge might be offered to potential purchasers by desperate employees facing an uncertain future from May 2013.
And there is no evidence that this concern is being addressed by the Special Liquidator or the Department of Finance.
And why would they be concerned? Remember that Ireland is a country where we take it on trust that senior civil servants and state employees will not use and abuse privileged information gleaned during their time at the heart of governance and Government, to the unfair advantage of their new employer. At least certain NTMA staff who have recently left senior positions at the Department of Finance are covered by the Official Secrets Act and the NTMA Act, both of which supposedly prevent the use of privileged information in new roles.
But, IBRC staff just had standard private sector contracts of employment, and are not covered by the Official Secrets Act or NTMA Act. And they have maximum three month contracts.
So, what this Government has done, is to create a situation where it has a large group of de-motivated, insecure staff involved in the sale of €16bn of state assets – loans mostly – to companies which may be their best hope of future employment. And during the Wild West next six months, there will be millions and maybe hundreds of millions made and lost.
With all respect to the staff at IBRC, what the Government has done is created a fertile breeding ground for rogue employees to sell their privileged inside knowledge in a market environment where €10s of millions are at stake (easily) and in some instances, there may be €100s of millions.
I wonder where this risk featured in the six months of planning which preceded the decision to liquidate IBRC on 6th February 2013.