Bloomberg News

Bank of Ireland May Face Strike Action on Pensions

November 01, 2006

Bank of Ireland Plc, the biggest Irish lender, may face a strike by more than 500 workers as unions fight proposed changes to employee pensions.

More than 90 percent of the workers represented by the Dublin branch of Amicus voted to give union officials a mandate for strike action, it said today in an e-mailed statement, without giving a precise figure. The union may hold a one-day work stoppage within two weeks, Amicus added.

Bank of Ireland said May 25 it would replace its defined- benefits pension with a new plan starting this month. The current plan, which gives set benefits to workers after retirement, will be replaced by one that reduces guaranteed payouts and increases mandatory contributions from employees.

``We do not want to rush to industrial action but our hand is being forced by the attitude of the bank management in this instance,'' Amicus Regional Officer Colm Quinlan said in the statement.

The Irish Bank Officials Association, which represents 8,000 workers at the bank, is awaiting the outcome of mediation before balloting its members on strike action. The Labor Relations Commission will hear the case on Nov. 9. Both organizations are based in Dublin.

``The new pensions arrangements reflect the changing environment and are superior to most changes being introduced by other companies at present,'' said Bank of Ireland spokeswoman Anne Matthews in an e-mail, adding the bank ``condemned'' the strike threat.

The bank's shares declined 0.6 percent to 15.70 euros in Dublin.

To contact the reporter on this story: Dara Doyle in Dublin at ddoyle1@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Riad Hamade at rhamade@bloomberg.net


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