SOME STAFF at EBS Building Society have voted to pursue strike action next week over the institution’s decision to withhold their ’13th month’ payment.
98 per cent of the voting members of the UNITE trade union, which represents around 300 staff at the lender, will now pursue industrial action in Christmas week.
The payment would have ordinarily been included in employees’ wages for December – but was not included, and staff claim they were given no notice of this.
Staff say that the payment has been made for each of the last 45 years and that it is still on offer to managerial staff – though the lender itself, now owned by AIB, says no bonuses of any kind have been paid to managers since 2008.
While the payment is not performance-related, management describe it as a ‘bonus’ – and say that the payment must therefore be withheld.
UNITE regional officer Colm Quinlan said managers were able to keep the payment if they took up an offer to restructure their pay packages – an offer which was not made to other staff.
“We were given no notice that this payment was to be withheld,” he said. “When staff were advised last week that only managers would receive the payment, the level of anger was as strong as I have ever seen.
The idea that the Department of Finance can decide the fate of Christmas in hundreds of households with no notice in advance is so wrong as to unbelievable.
Precise details of the strike action will be confirmed later today, after the company has been served a formal strike notice.