By Niall McCracken
FIRST Trust bank has notified staff of its intention to back date pay increments and bonuses following a court case earlier this year.
Yesterday (Thursday) management sent out an internal email confirming it would honour recommendations in previous rulings over the pay dispute. Staff in Northern Ireland took the bank to an industrial tribunal in 2012 over a disagreement about First Trust’s contractual commitments to increase wages. After losing the tribunal the bank brought the dispute to the Court of Appeal in January this year and lost.
First Trust is part of the Allied Irish Banks (AIB) group. Earlier this month as part of an industrial relations tribunal in the Republic of Ireland, the Labour Court recommended all legal cases concerning legacy payments for First Trust employees won in the courts in Northern Ireland should be paid to relevant members.
In a statement to The Detail today a spokesperson from First Trust Bank said:
“The Bank has confirmed to staff that it has accepted the recommendations of both the Labour Court and the Labour Relations Commission.
“In addition, the Court recommended that the bank positively addresses the legal proceedings on legacy pay in FTB and GB and I am happy to confirm that the bank will do this.”
Industrial tribunals were taken by First Trust staff in Northern Ireland in 2012 after they were were denied performance-related bonuses and increments for up to three years.
First Trust Bank had argued there was no contractual need to make the payments. When the tribunal ruled against the bank, it took the case to the Court of Appeal.
However, in January this year the Court of Appeal here ruled that First Trust could not say that “general economic hardship” meant it should not have to pay the claims sought by staff.
Following the ruling finance union, the Irish Bank Officials Association (IBOA) called on First Trust to “act without delay”.
First Trust’s parent company AIB was involved in an industrial relations tribunal in the Republic of Ireland earlier this month. The Labour Court ruled that AIB should implement significant changes to pensions, pay and working hours in order to ensure the bank’s viability and the protection of jobs.
Responding to the recommendations at the time IBOA said it welcomed the “substantial progress made in some areas” but also recognised that the recommendations, if accepted and implemented, would represent “significant change for many members”.
The Labour Courts recommended a once-off payment equal to 4% of salary for all IBOA members in the Bank below manager level in the Republic of Ireland in recognition of the overall provisions of the recommendations.
The Court also recommended all legal cases in relation to legacy pay successfully won by IBOA in the courts in Northern Ireland and Great Britain should now be paid to relevant members.
Yesterday, five months after the Court of Appeal hearing in Northern Ireland, First Trust staff received an internal email from its employer stating that it had “accepted the recommendations of both the Labour Court and the Labour Relations Commission.”
A spokesperson for First Trust said the bank could not comment on the estimated cost of accepting the recommendations at this stage.
© The Detail 2013