It might be the 100 year anniversary of the 1913 Lockout, but staff at Irish Bank Resolution Corporation are really tempting fate with their refusal to work on loans that may eventually be transferred to NAMA.
You’ll recall that Noonan’s Grand Plan for IBRC is that, having appointed KPMG as special liquidator in February 2013, there is now a 6-month window when KPMG has to flog as much of IBRC’s assets as possible but at no less than the independent valuation of those assets, the valuation now taking place.
What is left at the end of the six months will mostly go to NAMA, and August 2013 has been mooted as the month in which the transfers to NAMA will take place. NAMA has appointed British outsourcing giant, Capita as point-man to manage the loans it is acquiring from IBRC and has also issued tenders for loan service administrators, all in preparation of ultimately acquiring the unsold rump of IBRC’s assets.
It is unclear what work NAMA is now doing at IBRC to acquire assets. Surely KPMG should be given the field to do its job and sell as much of the assets as possible.
But, what is clear is the 800 staff at IBRC are angry with their redundancy terms. Most are facing the chop imminently and are employed on month-to-month contracts. Because IBRC is massively insolvent, the 800 staff will get statutory redundancy of 2 weeks of pay per year of service (capped at €600 per week) plus an extra week on top at the end – eg 5 years of service now earning €65,000 will get 5yrs * 2 weeks * €600 plus one week of €600 or a total of €6,600.
The staff union, the Irish Bank Officials’ Association (IBOA) believes that it has a prior deal with IBRC which provides for four weeks of pay per year of service. There is no mention of a €600 weekly cap either.
And now the union is stepping up a campaign to force IBRC to increase the redundancy payments. According to a statement on the IBOA website “commitments that the Government made to staff must be honoured” and it is understood from reports in the old media that workers are threatening not to work on assets bound for NAMA.
Unbelievably, every political party and members of the technical group are offering their support to the bank workers. They point out that the workers affected here are not the fat cat bankers that were at the top when lack of governance by the previous administration failed to stop the catastrophic ballooning in credit which led to the crash.
If ever there was a moral case in favour of a lockout, IBRC in 2013 is it. Remember Vita Cortex?
Workers at Vita Cortex had to occupy a freezing factory in Cork for nearly half a year to win 2.9 weeks per year of service and in the end it was the private sector, in the guise of Jack Ronan, which stumped up the difference. Here, you have workers in the most failed business in Ireland ever, demanding 4 weeks per year of service and the additional sums will not come from the private sector, but from the rest of us.