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APRIL 2012

Alegría

Win two tickets to see Cirque du Soleil at Dublin’s O2 See Pages 56-57

O2 WHAT A CIRCUS!


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NATIONAL IRISH CHEQUES OUT

AIB CUTS FREE BANKING

National Irish Bank will no longer accept cheque lodgements at its 28 branches in the Republic from April 23. See Page 4

AIB is tightening its “free banking” facility for the majority of its personal current account customers. See Page 5

REGULATING SHADOW BANKS

UK FACES NEW MIS-SELLING SCANDAL

A major international consultation is under way to devise new means to regulate “shadow” banking entities worldwide. See Page 6

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Spectrum is published by IBOA – The Finance Union, IBOA House, Stephen Street Upper, Dublin 8 and 29, Malone Road, Belfast. BT9 6RU. Telephone: 00353-1-4755908 and 0044-28-90200130 info@iboa.ie www.iboa.ie www.iboa.org.uk General Secretary: Larry Broderick Honorary Secretary: Tommy Kennedy Communications Manager: Séamas Sheils Advertising enquiries to Anna O’Doherty or Louise O’Donnell in IBOA House. Spectrum is printed on recycled paper and wrapped for posting in oxy-degradable polythene at W & G Baird, Antrim, Northern Ireland.

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• Errant banks to be named and shamed • AIB implicated in planning scandal by Mahon Tribunal • Macho culture harms British banking • Guerilla art focuses on crisis See Pages 10-17

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Complex financial products may have been sold to small businesses by leading British banks. See Page 7

• Getting Back to Lending? • Who is regulating the regulators? • Goldman Sachs in Muppet show • O’Leary for Taoiseach? • Health and safety at work See Pages 18-27

GOING ROGUE

IBOA NEWS

As a London-based trader pleads guilty to fraud in New York, regulators are probing UBS claim of £1.5 billion losses due to unauthorised deals by Kweku Adoboli (above). See Page 9

• Bank Secretaries to meet in Galway • Broderick intervenes in RBS bonus row • Training up – accreditation and new courses • IBOA in Congress See Pages 28-37


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No more mister knight guy Just plain Mister: Fred Goodwin.

LIFE & STYLE

• Consumption of fast food linked to depression • Positive steps to reduce cancer risk • Two books examine various aspects of the banking crisis See Pages 46-53

ARTS & LEISURE • • • • •

The Hunger Games Cirque du Soleil’s Alegría The Little Big Club From Jack to Trap Prize Crossword, Picture Board and Sudoku • UltraViolet See Pages 54-63

Fred the Shred loses knighthood – but holds onto generous pension! The former Chief Executive of Ulster Bank’s parent company, the Royal Bank of Scotland, Fred Goodwin, was stripped of his knighthood recently by the British Government as a public rebuke for his role in causing Britain's financial crisis. Goodwin was forced to step down as chief executive In October 2008 and take early retirement after the bank was bailed out by the British State – which now owns 82% of RBS. For many RBS staff – and especially former staff – the public humiliation of the exCEO offers little comfort. Goodwin was originally honoured with a knighthood after implementing a ruth-

less job-cutting programme which earned him the nickname of “Fred the Shred.” And of course, since the banking group was brought to the point of collapse as a result of Goodwin’s blind pursuit of the disastrous takeover with ABN Amro, many thousands more redundancies are being implemented across the RBS group as the new management team attempts to repair the group’s balance sheet as quickly as possible. The poster boy for the boom has now become the poster boy for the bust – even though, of course, he was not solely responsible for the crash. Indeed, some commentators have come close to expressing sympathy for

Goodwin as the scapegoat for the reckless behaviour of other senior executives facilitated by lax regulation. Among the other key players in the British banking crisis under the spotlight are Sir Victor Blank, who was in charge at Lloyds TSB when it was also rescued by the British State, and Sir Callum McCarthy, chairman of the UK’s regulatory body, the Financial Services Authority from 2003 to 2008, who has been criticised for failing to take action to avert the crisis. While losing his knighthood has probably come as a blow to Goodwin’s pride, it will no doubt be offset by the fact that his very lucrative pension remains intact.

Cover Picture: One of the performers in Cirque du Soleil’s Alegría – which will play at Dublin’s O2 arena later this month (See pages 56-57 for more details).

april 2012

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• No agreement on change at Bank of Ireland • Pay deal for majority in Northern Bank • Ulster Bank demands 950 more job cuts • AIB restructuring plan See Pages 38-45

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US banks strike $25bn deal on housing abuses US government officials have reached a $25bn (E18.7bn) deal with five banks – Bank of America, Citigroup, J P Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo and Ally Financial – over alleged abuses in the housing market. Analysts have suggested that the agreement may provide help to home-owners in negative equity with up to one million people now likely to have their debts reduced or their loans refinanced at lower rates. The deal is also expected to give banks immunity from civil lawsuits over so-called “robo-signing” cases – where lenders rushed through paperwork in order to speed up repossessions.

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National Irish Bank cheques out N

ational Irish Bank wrote to thousands of its customers recently to say that, from April 23, it will no longer accept cheque lodgements at its 28 branches in the Republic even though it will continue to provide them with cheque books. The Danske Bank subsidiary stopped taking cash in its branches at the start of 2010 – citing concerns over security and the cost of handling cash. NIB customers were advised to use An Post offices to lodge and withdraw cash from their accounts. An Post has now agreed to handle cheques for NIB customers, too.

NAB orders review of future of Clydesdale and Yorkshire banks N National Irish Bank, College Green, Dublin.

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ational Australia Bank (NAB) is reviewing the future of its two British subsidiaries – Clydesdale Bank and Yorkshire Bank – in the light of subdued economic growth in the UK and the ongoing sovereign debt crisis in the eurozone.

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The one-time owner of Northern Bank and National Irish Bank, NAB bought Clydesdale in 1987 and Yorkshire in 1990 and operates a total of 300 bank branches employing 8,500 staff.

Michel Barnier EU Commissioner for Internal Market and Services

EU to review banking pay The EU Commission is considering new measures to regulate bankers’ pay, including a limit on how much senior executives are paid in relation to junior employees, and a fixed ratio of bonuses to salary, according to Michel Barnier, the Commissioner for Internal Market and Services.

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Belfast Bankers’ Club

Until recently NAB had been considered as a potential buyer for other bank branches being put up for sale in Britain. The strategic review is due to conclude in time for the bank’s interim results in May.

If NAB decides to sell its British holdings, analysts have suggested that NBNK, the new bank run by former Northern Rock chief executive, Gary Hoffman, may be interested in acquiring them.

Isn’t it time you joined the club?

OPENING HOURS: The Club opens at 5:30pm from Monday-Friday.

AVAILABLE FOR PARTIES: Available for parties on request (any day). There is no charge for parties and room booking. 31 Malone Road Please phone 02890-382866 after 5.30pm or Belfast BT9 6RU e-mail: bankers.club@ntlbusiness.com

april 2012


LIFE & STYLE

AIB withdraws ‘free banking’ for many

Lloyds aims to cut 1,600 more jobs Lloyds Banking Group has announced 1,600 more job cuts across a number of divisions as part of its plan to remove 15,000 staff from the payroll over three years. Condemning the proposed cuts, unions have accused the bank of ”making employees pay for the fault of others.”

RBS and Goodwin sued by angry investors Photo: Gareth Chaney/Photocall Ireland

Ulster Bank’s parent, RBS and a number of former directors – including ex-CEO Fred Goodwin and ex-Chair, Sir Tom McKillop, have been served with a £2.4 billion damages claim by angry investors in the Bank, which is now 82% State-owned.

The RBOS Shareholders Action Group claim that the Bank misled investors in the prospectus for its £12 billion rights issue to finance the take-over of the Dutch Bank, ABN Amro, just five months before it was bailed out by the State.

Hyho.ie provides a range of special deals for IBOA members. Check the IBOA websites for details of the latests offers on holidays for destinations worldwide, as well as specialised golf trips and sports packages. For every booking made on the Hyho site or via our dedicated call centre,

Lloyds hits ex-chiefs’ bonuses Bonus payments worth £2.2m have been clawed back from the former Chief Executive of Lloyds Banking Group, Eric Daniels, and three of his former colleagues as a result of the losses arising from the mis-selling of payment protection insurance. The former senior executives were due to receive the bonus awards for their roles in the integration of HBOS into Lloyds which involved cutting 28,000 jobs.

Hyho.ie will donate between 10% and 20% of its agency commission to a charity, school, club or community organisation of your choice at no extra cost. Check the latest offers through www. iboa.ie/s/7 or www.iboa.org.uk/s/7/. You’ll need your IBOA membership number to log on!

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AIB is tightening its “free banking” facility for personal current account customers in order to save costs – including the “significant” cost of providing money transmission services. Currently, to qualify for free banking, customers with current accounts must complete at least one transaction each quarter using an AIB debit card and at least one payment using phone or internet banking. But from May 28 customers must keep their credit balance above E2,500 for a full quarter to avoid maintenance and transaction fees. AIB says that 40% of its personal current account holders will still qualify after the change – including holders of student accounts, graduate accounts and over 60s’ accounts. Describing the decision as an ‘insult,’ Ann Fitzgerald, the Chief Executive of the National Consumer Agency, said she is asking the Financial Regulator to rule if AIB has breached its consumer protection code. Meanwhile AIB staff must once again bear the brunt of customer anger.

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UK’s biggest banks receive hidden State benefits worth £45bn

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As well as direct State investment enjoyed by individual banking institutions in the UK – like RBS, Lloyds and Northern Rock – Britain’s ‘Big Four’ banks also benefitted from an indirect ‘subsidy’ worth nearly £45bn in 2010 because they were considered to be too big to be allowed to fail. The figure – calculated by the New Economics Foundation following earlier research by the Bank of England – reflects the fact that Barclays Bank, HSBC, Lloyds Banking Group and RBS were able to borrow money at lower interest rates because of the widespread belief that the UK Government would intervene if the institutions got into difficulty. The independent think-tank reckons that these lower interest rates were worth a total of £45bn to the UK’s ‘Big Four’ banks.

Regulating the financial fringes G

lobally they account for over E45 trillion or just under £38 trillion. Although they are not banks, they sometimes act like banks. So “shadow banks” could also create the same risks as ordinary banks without necessarily being fully covered by the same regulation as them.

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Shadow boxing

Special Offer for IBOA members For individuals: Save E3 off full admission price For families: Supersaver deal of E20 for family of 4 (normal price E35) Offers may not be used in conjunction with any other offer or promotion. National Sea Life Centre, Bray Seafront, Bray, Co. Wicklow. Tel. 00-353-1-2866939 www.sealife.ie

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Shadow banks have been defined as any businesses that engage in activity involving “credit intermediation outside the banking system.” They include money market funds, conduits, securitisation lending operations and repos. Some analysts have argued that the absence of transparency in the shadow banking system contributed to the financial crisis. So the G20 and the EU want to make sure all businesses in the shadow banking sector are properly supervised and regulated to address the risk of them causing or contributing to a financial crisis in future.

The European Commission launched a Green Paper consultation in March setting out what is already contained in EU law to tackle these risks and seeking views on what more needs to be done.

UK financial regulatory chief, Adair Turner

The EU consultation is linked to a global process being overseen by the international Financial Stability Board under the auspices of the G20. Reflecting on the challenge of regulating shadow banks, Adair Turner, the Chairman of the UK’s Financial Services Authority, noted recently that shadow banking is not “something parallel to and separate from the core banking system, but deeply intertwined with it.” Among the various recommendations now being considered internationally to address the issue are capital charges and curbs on a bank's exposure to shadow banking entities.


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Dutch pension fund UK banks face new sues Goldman Sachs mis-selling scandal over mis-selling S T

he Dutch civil service pension scheme, ABP, has launched a law suit against Goldman Sachs Group over the sale of mortgage-backed securities. One of the largest pension schemes in the world with assets of E246bn, ABP claims that Goldman Sachs sold it collateralised debt obligations (CDOs) which were far riskier than the investment bank had suggested. Indeed in the formal complaint against Goldman, ABP claims that the investment bank knew that the loans were destined to fail. A spokesman for ABP said: “Goldman Sachs knew the quality of the underlying mortgages from the start to the end and must have been aware they did not deserve a AAA rating.” The pension scheme has initiated similar suits against J P Morgan, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank and GMAC, the financial branch of General Motors.

Doubly sorry: Barclays CEO, Bob Diamond may have to apologise to customers once again (Photo: Daniel Lewis)

ome of the UK's leading banks are facing allegations of mis-selling complex financial products to many small businesses without providing them with sufficient information on what they were being sold. Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds and RBS are facing legal action which may ultimately cost billions in damages.

FSA boss to quit soon

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he Chief Executive of Britain’s Financial Services Authority, Hector Sants, is to leave the regulatory body in June. His imminent departure has come as a major surprise since Sants was expected to

Hector Sants

head up a new banking supervisory body as part of a major shake-up of the regulation of British banking due in early 2013. The FSA is due to divide into two – the Prudential Regulatory Authority (PRA) which is to be part of the Bank of England (with Sants originally designated as the PRA’s head), and the Financial Conduct Authority, a separate consumer watchdog. The resignation of the former Credit Suisse banker is the latest in a series of departures by senior FSA staff.

A large number of small and medium-sized enterprises claim that they were forced to take out highly complex derivatives as a form of insurance against interest rate rises. These instruments – which were highly profitable for the lenders – resulted in substantial losses for the borrowers when interest rates fell. According to the Sunday Telegraph, Michael Dempster, Professor Emeritus at Cambridge University’s Centre for Financial Research believes the claims faced by banks could run to billions of pounds. This latest incident follows a major scandal over Payment Protection Insurance (PPI) – in which UK banks and insurance brokers could face bills of up to £3 billion after mis-selling PPI to as many as 12 million customers (see Spectrum May 2011).

april 2012

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Jersey sore and may be getting sorer: The Goldman Sachs Tower in Jersey City, New Jersey

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Only five “ethical” banks in world!

Scope of EU bank stress tests may be expanded

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European Union regulators may expand the scope of the bank stress tests in 2013 to include checks as to whether banks’ business models are too risky or vulnerable, according to the Reuters news agency. The European Banking Authority (EBA) has already held a “brainstorming” session to explore ideas for next year’s tests. Among the new elements reported to be under consideration are evaluations of how the banks’ business models are evolving after off-loading assets to reduce their need for capital. The stress tests may also include assessments of whether these institutions can survive without ECB funding when it needs to be paid back; as well as the schedules for repaying funds.

Only five banks worldwide have made the 145-strong World’s Most Ethical (WME) Companies list for 2012, produced by the Ethisphere Institute (EI) – an international think-tank, based in New York and dedicated to the “creation, advancement and sharing of best practices in business ethics, corporate social responsibility, anti-corruption and sustainability.” The five banks selected for the honour are National Australia Bank (Australia), Old National Bank (USA),

Rabobank (Netherlands), Standard Chartered Bank (UK) and Westpac Group (Australia).

The EI awards the title to those companies which “show leadership in promoting ethical business standards and practices by exceeding legal minimums for compliance, introducing innovative ideas that benefit the public and forcing their competitors to follow suit. According to the Institute, the chosen companies “demonstrate how corporate citizenship is undoubtedly tied to the success of a company’s brand and bottom line.”

Tesco Bank delays move into current accounts

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esco Bank is reported to have postponed the launch of its current account facility until next year. It had previously intended to launch current accounts this autumn. Explaining the delay, Tesco said that the launch was being delayed to allow for the introduction of new industry-wide systems in the UK to enable customers switch between current account providers more easily.

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Great savings and offers for IBOA members in Great Britain and Northern Ireland from Thomas Cook – including a 6% discount on thousands of holidays. Check the Members Only Section of the IBOA websites for more information.

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he global nature of international finance was captured in a recent court case in which a Londonbased banking executive employed by a Swiss bank faced trial in New York. David Higgs, a managing director at Credit Suisse in London in 2007 and 2008, pleaded guilty to criminal charges that he and some colleagues inflated the value of mortgage securities in the bank’s portfolio in order to boost their bonuses. The fraud was perpetrated by Higgs, Head of Hedge Trading, and his boss, Kareem Serageldin, Head of Structured Credit Trading, along with two New York-based Credit Suisse employees, Faisal Siddiqui and Salmaan Siddiqui (no relation).

State-owned RBS spent $4m on lobbying US lawmakers Ulster Bank parent company, RBS, spent $4.13m on in-house and commercial lobbyists to influence US federal legislators between October 2008 and December 2011, according to documents released by the US Government recently. The bank lobbied US Congress representatives on consumer protection laws – like the Consumer Overdraft Protection Fair Practices Act and the US Credit Card Act – as well as on the Dodds-Frank Wall Street Act – intended to reform the US banking system. This activity has raised major concerns in Britain since RBS is 82% owned by the State.

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Swiss and British regulators launch probe into UBS trading losses T

he UK's Financial Services Authority (FSA) and the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) have both launched enforcement investigations into the £1.5 billion losses at UBS – which are alleged to have been caused by unauthorised deals conducted by London-based trader, Kweku Adoboli.

As a result of the overstatement of the value of the mortgage securities, Credit Suisse had to announce a £1.8bn write-down in March 2008, a month after finding “mismarkings” by the group of employees.

The British-educated son of a retired United Nations official from Ghana, Adoboli was arrested after the losses were revealed last September.

David Higgs

Kweku Adoboli

AIB set to return to profit “in two years”

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he almost entirely State-owned AIB Group is on track to return to sustainable profitability by 2014, according to its Chief Executive Officer, David Duffy.

The AIB chief was commenting on the Bank’s latest annual results which revealed a loss after tax of E2.3 billion for 2011 – down from the record loss of E10.2 billion in 2010. Operating profit, before provisions, totalled E68 million in 2011, compared to E658 million a year earlier. The Bank attributed the reduction in operating profit to lower levels of income, down by E519 million or 22%, and a rise in costs of E71 million. AIB said it had set aside E7.9 billion for loan losses, compared with E6.02 billion last year.

He has been accused of two counts of fraud and two of false accounting. After entering a plea of not guilty, Adoboli was refused bail by a London court recently and will remain in custody in Wandsworth Prison until his trial in September. The trading losses have already forced UBS into major changes in management – including the departure of its chief executive, Oswald Gruebel, and the bank's chief risk officer. The regulatory investigations by FSA and FINMA will assess the effectiveness of the controls in place at UBS to prevent unauthorised trading. UBS said it would co-operate fully with its regulators. Meanwhile, UBS is conducting its own investigation into the losses arising from what it describes as “an unauthorised trading incident.”

US bank buys stockbroking arm from RBS Ulster Bank parent company, RBS, has agreed to sell its historic British stockbroking arm, Hoare Govett, to the US investment bank Jefferies. The sale seems to be part of the Bank’s plan for a radical reduction in its investment banking operations.

april 2012

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London-based rogue banker pleads guilty in New York court

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MACHO CULTURE HARMS BRITISH BANKING

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Womern are being prevented from being promoted to the top positions in British banking by a “macho culture” among senior executives. See Page 12

ART ATTACK An impromptu exhibition of twenty-six provocative artworks appeared overnight on Dublin’s North Wall Quay recently – on the hoardings around the site of the unfinished office block that was to have been the new headquarters for the now disgraced Anglo Irish Bank. See Page 14-15

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SANTANDER TO CLOSE SOME UK BRANCHES AS IT ACQUIRES MORE

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Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. Martin Luther King Jr. SPECTRUM

Santander has announced that it is to close 56 branches in its UK banking network by the end of June – but has stressed that the closures will not involve any job cuts. Following the acquisition of the Abbey National, Alliance & Leicester and Bradford & Bingley Building Societies, the Spanish bank’s UK subsidiary now has multiple branches in some towns and cities. The bank also intends to open 25 branches in towns and financial centres where it currently does not have a presence – as well as integrating 314 branches and offices acquired from Royal Bank of Scotland in line with the EU’s requirement for institutions in receipt of State aid to “downsize.” Alongside its commitment to avoid any redundancies, Santander has also pledged that it will not leave any town or financial centre where it currently has a full service branch. Santander added that all the branches identified for closure had to meet a number of criteria: they are in towns and financial centres where it has multiple branches; the other branches in the town have capacity to service the additional customers with no detrimental impact; and the workforce can be absorbed into

april 2012

CHEQUES, SPIES & MEASURING TAPE The recent true confessions of one time and motion analyst has prompted another – IBOA member David Lemon – to reflect on some of his experience in Irish banking. See Page 16-17


LIFE & STYLE

New law to allow Ombudsman to publicise rogue finance companies

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he names of financial institutions in the Republic that are found to mistreat customers will be publicised in future following a change in the law which will allow the Financial Services Ombudsman to ‘name and shame’ those companies which have consistently breached consumer rights.

A similar power – which is already available to the UK authorities – was used to highlight the recent scandal over the mis-selling of payment protection insurance. The Republic’s Minister for Finance, Michael Noonan said recently that the Government will accept a Bill proposed by Fianna Fáil to allow a record of complaints against financial companies to be made public. The new provision is expected to cover banks, mortgage brokers,

insurance companies and brokers (including health insurance), stockbrokers and hire purchase providers. The former ombudsman, Joe Meade, wrote to the Department of Finance about changing the law in 2009. His successor, Bill Prasifka, has also lobbied consistently for the power to publish a list of the worstoffending companies. His office already produces its own internal ‘league table’ – but this has never been published.

AIB implicated in planning scandal Justice Alan Mahon (Photo: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland)

Mahon Report highlights AIB’s role in payments to politicians

As well as highlighting the abuse of political power and the corruption of the planning process, the recently published report of the Tribunal of Inquiry into Certain Planning Matters and Payments in the Republic, chaired by Justice Alan Mahon, also highlighted major concerns about the role of AIB – which was centrally involved in the Quarryvale development – one of the central issues investigated by the Tribunal. Fearing heavy losses on the project in 1991, AIB pressed the original developer, Tom Gilmartin, to hand over control of the project to Owen O’Callaghan – with the Bank taking a 20% stake in the company behind the development – which engaged Frank Dunlop to pursue the issue of planning permission with the appropriate authorities. The success of the project not only required the “acquisition” (literally!) of support from local councillors: it also needed a favourable tax status designation from the then Minister for the Environment, Padraig Flynn. The process was facilitated by AIB in a variety of ways including the cashing of fictitious cheques to pay off local councillors as well as allowing loans to be used for purposes other than that for which approval was originally granted – a lax attitude which was also evident in the recent crisis.

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Errant banks to be ‘named and shamed’

Financial Services Ombudsman, William Prasifka (Photo: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland)

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Macho culture in British banking wastes talent

A glass ceiling of prejudice among senior executives is still preventing women’s progress in banking (Photo: iStockphoto).

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“macho culture” in British banking is the biggest barrier to women reaching senior positions, according to a recent report by the Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM) in Britain. The ILM survey of 800 men and women found that nearly half of women working in banking believe they face career barriers because of their gender,

and more than one-third of men agree. Almost three-quarters of the women and half of the men – who took part in the survey – say that the attitudes of senior male executives are major barriers to progress. The organisational culture, the lack of flexible working opportunities and the shortage of female role models are among

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april 2012

Charles Elvin of the Institute of Leadership and Management: You are losing very competent people all the way through the process.

the other main barriers to women’s career progression identified in the survey. Overall, 87% of the women surveyed feel that some form of positive action is needed, compared to two-thirds of the men. The report identifies flexible working as the most popular solution – favoured by 68% of the women and 42% of the men. Only 19% of the women and 10% of the men feel that gender quotas should be used to improve the representation of women in senior roles. “It is in danger of being really quite a dreadful waste,” said ILM Chief Executive, Charles Elvin, “if you are losing very, very competent people all the way through the process, several steps before the board. It is bad for the organisation, bad for the country and bad for society.”


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Art attack

Anglo inspires guerilla painting exhibition he skeletal hulk of what was T to have been the new headquarters of the now failed Anglo Irish Bank is a fitting monument to the delusional dreams of avarice that turned into a global nightmare.

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The derelict shell on Dublin’s North Wall Quay also provided the backdrop for a guerrilla exhibition by a group of artists hoping to stimulate a debate about the role of the National Asset Management Agency (NAMA) and the impact of the ongoing debt crisis in Ireland. The unfinished property was acquired by NAMA when Anglo was taken into public ownership by the previous government in the Republic. It is said to be a target for purchase by the Irish Central Bank.

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In the exhibition entitled ‘Romantic Ireland,’ the artists each take a line from the W. B. Yeats poem, September 2013, which is well known for its refrain: “Romantic Ireland’s dead and gone – It’s with O’Leary in the grave.” A total of twenty-six quite provocative images are on display at the site – braving the elements, the graffiti taggers and the authorities. Among the more striking are the assembly of politicians and disgraced banking bosses – including Bertie Ahern and Michael Fingleton – to illustrate the line: “Yet they were of a different kind.” Former Health Minister, Mary Harney, is also pilloried for her attempts to transfer more of Irish health service into the hands of private operators – to realise the line: “You have dried the marrow from the bone.” In terms of the bailout by the Troika, which is the theme of the image to illustrate the line: “But fumble in the greasy till,” Enda Kenny might feel hard done by personally – as the decision was taken by his predecessors. But if the Taoiseach is seen as the embodiment of the entire political class who must also take their share of responsibility for the current situation, some artistic licence is permissible. The parallels between Yeats’ evocation of the flight of the wild geese and the return of emigration driven by rising unemployment are also highlighted on the wall.

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IBOA member, David Lemon, looks back on an era when time and motion studies were all the rage in the Irish financial sector

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, S E U Q E CH ES & NG I I P R S ASU ME E P A T

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There was a story in the press a couple of months ago about Graham Gibbons from South Wales, who was charged with voyeurism after using his camera phone to film sex with his girlfriend without her knowledge. The UK’s Sexual Offences Act criminalises those who watch, for gratification purposes, people engaged in a private act without their consent. However, Mr Gibbons, who is a time and motion expert, claimed that “making the half hour sex tape was an academic research project in which he applied his professional expertise to his private life.” Why are they still called sex tapes, by the way? Was he using the latest reel-toreel iPhone? Back in the 1970s and 1980s I worked in Northern Bank’s Organisation & Methods Department, which encompassed time and motion study. But I was never given such an exotic assignment as the research undertaken by Mr Gibbons.

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Usually I got to time bank officials ‘amount encoding’ cheques or sorting items into alphabetical order for subsequent manual ledger posting. Sometimes those being timed tried to pull the wool over my eyes by working at a slower rate than normal, envisaging that they were creating a bit of siesta time for themselves whenever our team worked out the time allowance for the tasks. Naturally I did not make them privy to the information that any timings that were not accompanied by the sweat lashing off the participant were declared null and void. The apparent rationale for Mr Gibbons’ conduct was to prove his suspicions that he was making more effort than his lover during sex. As a result of his analysis of the recording he was able to demonstrate that he “gave her 20 minutes of satisfaction, followed by 5 minutes of intercourse before a further 9 minutes of satisfaction.” Using my own professional expertise I quickly noted that this adds up to 34 minutes, which is not half an hour. But setting aside this sloppy mistake, from

a time and motion perspective, this is insufficient detail. Had I come back to the office with only two categories of work activity for ‘amount encoding,’ my manager would have pointed out the error of my ways, in rather colourful language, and told me not to even think about claiming expenses for the exercise. I would have had to split the task down into its component parts, e.g., walk to supervisor’s desk to collect bundle of cheques, check encoding machine for supplies and confirm its operational status, sit down, lift cheque, read amount, key amount (average 8 key strokes), drop cheque into transport channel, etc. Readers will be relieved to know that I do not intend to speculate on what the component parts of Mr Gibbons’ activities might have been. From a banking perspective whenever we eventually arrived at a standard time for the task, we then added on a 12.5% rest and relaxation allowance. Explanation of this fact to Branch staff was generally met with ironic laughter or ⁄


well I certainly enjoyed spending all those evening meal and mileage allowances! The world of computerised banking was arriving and statistics could be extracted automatically without the need for someone to drive all the way to Omagh, stay there for three days and get blathered every night at the bank’s expense.

Out of time and going through the motions! Soon, however, it became too costly to maintain a central team to interpret all those automatically generated statistics and software was written to calculate the required staffing levels in each Branch. With a much reduced central team available the standard times underpinning the activities soon became obsolete and new activities weren’t being picked up at all. Nevertheless if the computer printout said you needed 10.4 staff, then that is what you got and we were smart enough to make sure it was up to the Regional Manager to defend the credibility of the system. Ah, the benefits of the line management philosophy!

ARTS & LEISURE

Whenever the inevitable claims of understaffing, or earache to give it its technical name, became too persistent, and was accompanied by appropriate levels of anguished wailing and sweat lashing off brows, the Regional Manager would arrange for someone from the ever diminishing central team to visit to carry out a review. And guess what? It would turn out that we should have been there the previous week. Nowadays the need for a system to determine how many staff are needed in a particular Branch is declining. By the time an understaffing problem is reported, ignored, stalled, prioritised, deferred, accepted in principle and finally investigated, someone else has decided to close the Branch. It’s much simpler than all that time and motion stuff. And go on, admit it, you’re dying to know what happened to Mr Gibbons. He was acquitted after the Recorder at the Cardiff court told the jury: “he is charged with voyeurism, not with being an oddball,” Ten minutes later, they returned their ‘not guilty’ verdict. Afterwards Mr Gibbons said, “I was only doing my job.” The last of a dying breed, eh!

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indeed an observation that we were treating them to similar activity to that undertaken by Mr Gibbons. As there was no mention in the Gibbons case of a traditional post-coital cigarette, I assume his lover was denied her rest and relaxation allowance. We used to have timings for hundreds of Branch activities to enable us to calculate how many staff each Branch required. We supplemented this by visiting each Branch to collect a truckload of statistics, to gain an ‘on the ground’ appreciation of local conditions and to witness first hand the reported heaving throngs of customers clamouring for service. Invariably when we visited and noted the relative tranquillity evident in the banking hall, we were always told: “you should have been here last week, we were queued out to the door.” Of course, the good old days of scientifically obtained standard times and Branch visits to assess required staffing levels soon ended when somebody worked out how many people we had on our team and the size of our expenses bill. But it was money well spent, in my view –

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WHO GUARDS THE GUARDIANS? Three American academics, who are all former regulators, claim that the absence of effective regulation was one of the main causes of the global economic crisis. In their new book, Guardians of Finance, they propose the creation of a new mechanism to prevent more systemic dangers

GOLDMAN SACHS UNDER FIRE FROM ONE OF ITS OWN

Goldman Chief Executive, Lloyd Blankfein (above) has been engaged in a major damage limitation exercise recently following the controversial disclosure in a resignation letter from one of his disenchanted employees that many of the Bank’s executives hold very patronising attitudes towards their own clients See Pages 22-23

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TOO TIRED TO WORK SAFELY

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“There are three kinds of men. The ones that learn by readin’. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves.” Will Rogers SPECTRUM

O’LEARY FOR TAOISEACH? The notion that the Ryanair chief should be running the country has been advanced by a number of commentators recently. But is his ruthless streak more about bullying the vulnerable – than defending them? See Pages 24-25

OBSERVE WORKERS’ MEMORIAL DAY APRIL 28 april 2012

Workers in Australia are suffering from an ‘unrecognised epidemic’ of tiredness, according to a new study, with working parents particularly badly affected. See Page 25

WORK STRESS RISING IN NI

The recession is adding significantly to the incidence of workrelated stress in Northern Ireland – leading to more employees taking time off, according to new research. See Page 26


ARTS & LEISURE

Squaring the Vicious Circle Many financial institutions – which are themselves in very dire straits – are facing demands to extend loan and other credit facilities to ailing businesses. Should they risk throwing “good money after bad” to keep a failing enterprise afloat – along with the jobs of its employees? Or should they be “cruel to be kind” and pull the plug?

In the dim and distant past of the boom times – boom, of course, being the sound of a loud explosion following a period of severe over-inflation or over-heating of a fragile structure! – life was so simple when it was all built on sand. When a business got into difficulty, the owner or chief executive would call into the bank to arrange more credit. If his business happened to be in property, this turned into a formality as the banks were literally throwing money at these patriotic entrepreneurs! And the more ambitious the project the more the institutions liked it – because higher risks mean higher profits, right?! And if our man didn’t like the terms on offer from his bank, he could just cross the road to another institution and virtually write his own! No place for prudence or caution in this never-ending cycle of boom and boomer!

“If you’re not in, you can’t win” became the unofficial slogan of the banking sector – as finance houses competed with each other to lend, lend, lend! But that was another time – but unfortunately not another place. Now that banks are focussed on rebuilding their balance sheets, every penny and every cent counts – how else are the senior executives to get their bonuses? – and credit is tight. Borrowers are subjected to much greater scrutiny as many financial institutions move from being heavily risk-addicted to being just as equally risk-averse. Not only have many highly speculative ventures lost their former allure – but even some marquee names in the retail sector now meet much stiffer resistance even to requests for temporary measures to enable them to weather the squalls and flurries of the recession.

The State-supported banks in particular, face many difficult decisions. After all, previous reckless lending is the reason for their current predicament. So any further recklessness is surely unacceptable. These institutions are also under intense pressure to show a healthier balance sheet – in the wake of the substantial level of investment by the State. On the other hand, if a bank’s new caution on credit turns an ailing business into a failing business – with significant job losses as a result – the bank is likely to be condemned as callous and ungrateful. While some politicians try to make a career of being all things to all men, banks should not be expected to meet competing aspirations equally. Each has consequences and some are mutually exclusive. We need much greater honesty all round. If only our society was mature enough to embrace it!

april 2012

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Who guards the guardians?

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The Roman poet, Juvenal, is credited with originally posing the question, “quis custodiet ipsos custodes” – or who guards the guards themselves?” in the late first or early second century AD. Although similar questions have often exercised legislators and philosophers since then, in the wake of the global financial crisis the question has been increasingly directed at the financial regulators over their failure to act in time to prevent the reckless behaviour that fuelled economic meltdown on an international scale. Three American academics, who are all former regulators, claim that the absence of effective regulation was one of the main causes of the global economic crisis. They have proposed the creation of a new mechanism to prevent more systemic dangers in future. SPECTRUM

Above: Ben Bernanke, Chair of the US Federal Reserve Bank since 2006 (Photo: AP/Itsuo Inouye).

Guardians of Finance, a new book by James Barth, Gerard Caprio and Ross Levine.

april 2012

Regulators in need of regulation In their recently published book, Guardians of Finance, James Barth of the Milken Institute, Gerard Caprio of Williams College and Ross Levine of Brown University argue that complex financial products – which helped to mask toxic sub-prime mortgages in the US – were not the sole explanation for the global financial crisis as countries like Ireland and Spain – where the use of these new products was not widespread – have also suffered because of faulty oversight of their financial sectors. In extracts published in a recent issue of the Milken Institute Review, the three authors argue that regulatory shortcomings lay at the heart of the crisis, asking: “Why, for example, did US regulators not react to the alarming increases in leverage at financial institutions, or the shift of trillions of dollars of assets from banks’

balance sheets that were packaged into complex securities? “Why were Irish regulators willing to sit around for two-anda-half years waiting for a reply to a letter they sent to the Anglo Irish Bank expressing concerns about its meteoric (and unsustainable) growth? “Why did UK regulators give the Northern Rock bank a blue ribbon for risk management, and allow it to increase dividends just three months before it failed?” The authors identify a number of issues as key factors in the failure of regulation – including: • political interference; • lack of separation between the regulators and the regulated; • inadequate access to accurate information and the absence of necessary expertise to assess it; and ⁄


example, the banks regulated by the (US) Fed have a strong voice in choosing the executives running the 12 regional Federal Reserve banks.” This unhealthy closeness between the regulators and the regulated is also reflected in the “revolving door” through which personnel move quickly between key regulatory bodies and major financial institutions. To illustrate the point, the trio highlight the members of the US Treasury team which supervised the US Government’s key banking bail-out initiative – the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) – after the collapse of Lehmann Brothers. “Treasury’s former chief of staff, deputy assistant for financial institution policy, associate secretary for financial institution policy, undersecretary of domestic finance, adviser to the secretary on the financial crisis, assistant secretary for international affairs, undersecretary for international affairs and associate secretary for legislative affairs have all moved to the financial institutions over which they had just been shaping national policies.”

The Republic’s former Financial Regulator, Patrick Neary, in happier times – less than six months before the Irish Government introduced the bank guarantee for the six domestic institutions (Photo: Eamonn Farrell/ Photocall-Ireland).

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asting doubt on the capacity of recent legislative measures in the US to prevent a recurrence of the current crisis, the authors note that none of the current institutions have the necessary independence, effective powers or appropriate mandate to ensure proper regulation. Noting the general tendency of most regulatory regimes to try to cover up past mistakes, the authors complain that regulators have consistently “created and maintained policies that increased the fragility of the financial system.”

Deputy Governor of the Republic’s Central Bank, and Head of Financial Regulation, Matthew Elderfield (Photo: James Horan/Photocall-Ireland).

ARTS & LEISURE

The solution, according to the three, is the creation of a new body which they call the Sentinel with the appropriate knowledge and competence to scrutinise the activities of the regulators by providing “expert, independent assessments of financial regulation.” According to the authors, this body should be empowered to access any information necessary to assess the quality and effectiveness of financial regulation, and should then be required to report each year to Government on the soundness of banks, insurance companies, securities firms and ratings agencies. The senior staff of this super agency should, say the trio, include economists and forensic accountants – who would be well paid and, more significantly, contractually prevented from taking up employment in the financial services sector for at least five years after leaving these jobs. The authors suggest that, while the mere existence of this oversight body should encourage regulators to perform at a higher level, the Sentinel would also have a major impact by highlighting emerging problems: “What would have happened had a Sentinel highlighted the FBI’s 2004 fraud report in mortgage finance, and the lack of response from the Fed?… “What would have happened if an Irish Sentinel had highlighted the dangers to the national banking system in giving out mortgages with virtually no down payments – mortgages that sometimes exceeded borrowers’ incomes tenfold?” S

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• lack of the necessary clout to be taken seriously in both the financial and political arenas. All of these factors have been clearly visible in the emergence of the banking crisis in Ireland. In a very telling example, the authors demonstrate how far the Federal Reserve Bank has gone in the past to obstruct public access to information on its activities: “In May 2008, Bloomberg News filed a Freedom of Information Act request for Fed documents on its lending to banks. The Fed said it would respond in June, but did not. Bloomberg News sued, and in August 2009, a federal court ruled that the Fed must release the documents. The Fed appealed, and in March 2010, an appellate panel unanimously sided with the lower court. “At that point, the Senate called on the Federal Reserve to identify the banks and other financial institutions that received loans. The Supreme Court eventually ordered the Fed to comply. The Fed then released the thousands of documents in a nonsearchable PDF form, making it difficult for the public or the press to examine them.” The close relationship between regulators and those they regulate has been well highlighted in many parts of the world – leading to a situation where the financial sector effectively determines the degree of regulation it is prepared to accept. The authors add that: “regulators are very aware that they can raise their salaries by a factor of ten by moving to private firms. But the industry’s role is even more direct, influencing regulators by selecting them. For

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G-old boys

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Mario Draghi: From Goldman to President of European Central Bank

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Hank Paulson: Ex-Goldman CEO and US Treasury Secretary under Bush

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“Muppet” charge proves costly for Goldman Sachs T

he resignation letter of Goldman Sachs executive, Greg Smith, not only provided further damning condemnation of some of the Wall Street giant’s less than wholesome business practices: it also wiped over $2billion off the investment bank’s share value in one day.

Smith’s letter appears to confirm the Levin Committee’s charge that Goldman routinely exploits its own clients by encouraging them to buy financial products it considers to be substandard. Smith describes the Goldman mantra, as follows: Execute on the firm’s "axes," which is Goldman-speak for persuading your clients to invest in the stocks or other products that we are trying to get rid of because they are not seen as having a lot of potential profit.

Published in the New York Times, Smith’s letter blew the whistle on former colleagues – accusing them of taking pleasure in Smith also describes how Goldman executives ripping off their clients mocked their own clients as dupes: whom they openly described as “Muppets.” It makes me ill how callously people Memorably described talk about ripping their clients off. by Rolling Stone colum- Greg Smith Over the last 12 months I have seen nist, Matt Taibbi, as “a five different managing directors refer great vampire squid wrapped around the to their own clients as "muppets," face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its sometimes over internal e-mail. blood funnel into anything that smells like money,” the world's most powerful investment bank is once again in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons – just when its Greg Smith’s resignation letter inspired a number of senior executives were hoping the pranksters to produce their own fictitious resignations. It also inspired a spoof response in the name of public had begun to forget their disastrous performance at the Goldman Sachs CEO, Lloyd Blankfein – which regretted 2010 hearings of Senator Carl having employed someone with a “conscience, ideals Levin’s Permanent Subcommittee and high moral standards,”despite scouring the world “for the finest sociopaths money will buy.” on Investigations.

Resigned to their fate

Malcolm Turnbull: from chair of GS Australia to Leader of Opposition

Chris Flowers: From GS to Head of private equity firm, JC Flowers

SPECTRUM

Peter Sutherland: From EU Commission to chair of GS International

april 2012

Jon Corzine: From GS CEO to New Jersey Governor and MT Global chief

Karel van Miert: From EU Commission to GS adviser


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G-old boys

‘Vampire squid’ goes global

Otmar Issing: From GS to Bundesbank board & ECB chief economist

John Thain: From GS President to NYSE, Merrill-Lynch and CIT Group

Romano Prodi: From EU Commission to GS adviser

Olusegun Ananga: From GS to Nigeria’s Finance and Trade Ministries

William C. Dudley: From GS chief economist to NY Federal Reserve boss

Mario Monti: from EU Commission to GS adviser and Italy’s Premier

David Went: Ex-CEO of Ulster Bank and IL&P to GS board

april 2012

SPECTRUM

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Even Goldman’s previous track record in Greece did not hinder the career prospects of its old boys. The head of Greece’s debt management agency, Petros Christodoulou, worked for Goldman in the UK and Canada from 1987 – while Lucas Papademos, the former head of the Central Bank who worked closely with Goldman to mask Greece’s real deficit in order to join the euro, is now the “technocrat” Premier – installed to replace a democractically elected leader. Goldman Sachs has also cultivated a slew of retired EU Commissioners including former Commission President, Romano Prodi, as well as Peter Sutherland and Karel van Miert. In America, of course, the “vampire squid” has been accused of operating a virtual “revolving door” into influential positions in successive US administrations – both Republican and Democrat – as well as key regulatory bodies and even some of Goldman’s rivals.

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Although Greg Smith’s letter has caused some reputational damage to Goldman Sachs, it remains to be seen how permanent it will be. Despite being accused of playing a major role in creating the eurozone crisis by helping Greece disguise major problems in public finances so that it could join the euro in the first place, Goldman Sachs has made the most of the crisis in Europe – with many Governments, including Ireland, engaging the investment bank to provide advice on how to deal with the fall-out from the economic meltdown since 2008. Not only has Goldman Sachs become the “go-to” consultancy for many European governments, but many “Goldmanites” now occupy key positions in Europe. The new head of the European Central Bank, Mario Draghi, is a former Goldman senior executive – while the newly installed Prime Minister of Italy, the “technocrat” Mario Monti, was a senior adviser with Goldman.

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Extending its tentacles far and wide

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O’Leary for Taoiseach? Too much baggage to handle!

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ith politicians from the established parties in the Republic seemingly powerless to influence the unrelenting tide of difficulties facing the Irish economy as a result of the global financial meltdown and the eurozone crisis, some commentators have suggested that Ireland needs to look outside the traditional parties for a new kind of leader who will stand up to the Troika and face down Merkozy. On these occasions where this kind of idle speculation has been indulged, the name of Ryanair Chief Executive, Michael O’Leary, has often been mentioned. But where some see a dynamic, no-nonsense, in-your-face and confident business leader, others see a boorish, deceitful, tactless and self-obsessed bully. These extreme reactions to the Ryanair boss are largely of O’Leary’s own making – because he has personally courted publicity in order to promote the business – either through “whacky” photo opport– unities or calculatedly provocative sound bites. This has undoubtedly made O’Leary an international celebrity and provided many column inches of copy for journalists throughout Europe. But, on the On threats to the downside, it has also made business: Nuclear war O’Leary and his company the in Europe, a major butt of jokes and ridicule by coaccident or believing medians. our own bullshit. It also rankles with consumers when they discover that On adding charges: what begins as a low fare is At the moment the ice is transformed into something less free – but if we could than a bargain when various find a way of targetting a price on it, we would. additional charges are added.

O’Leary in his own words

Cheap but not so cheerful! The Ryanair business model is based on customer uniformity. This has resulted in an apparent lack of tolerance for passengers who may have special needs – like a disability or an allergy – or even luggage! As far as Ryanair is concerned, an ideal passenger is one who has little or no luggage and makes few demands other than to spend heavily while on board – including, if rumours are to be believed, more than a penny to use the loo!

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On the environment: The best thing we can do with environmentalists is shoot them. These headbangers want to make air travel the preserve of the rich. On fatherhood: I’m taking the Ryanair approach to it – subcontracting everything.

april 2012

And then there is Ryanair’s legendary approach to “manpower” issues – which involves hiring large numbers of contract workers; charging pilots to train to fly new planes; and charging cabin crew for their uniforms. In the public mind, the meanspirited elements of Ryanair’s business practice have become closely associated with O’Leary’s own personality. Like the “mollycule” theory in The Third Policeman by Flann O’Brien, it is sometimes hard to work out where Ryanair begins and O’Leary ends. Well, probably at least 50 miles away from where you expected! While Ryanair often likes to present itself as a maverick underdog that succeeded against the established national carriers by extending opportunities for air travel to ordinary consumers, the reality is somewhat different. State support vital for success At an early stage Ryanair received a crucial leg-up from the establishment when the late Séamus Brennan, as Minister for Transport,

decided to hand over Aer Lingus’s routes into Stansted as a crucial lifeline to a struggling Ryanair. Even though some argued at the time that the Minister’s action amounted to the State bailing out a failing private airline, this act of kindness was quickly airbrushed from the O’Leary myth as the resuscitated Ryanair began a relentless campaign of negative propaganda against Aer Rianta, Aer Lingus, the regulator and successive Transport Ministers for failing to bend over even further to facilitate the onward and upward march of Ryanair. Cuckoo in the nest Like a cuckoo in the nest, Ryanair also demanded increasingly more favourable terms from aircraft manufacturers and from airport authorities around Europe. And when the European Union intervened to declare that Ryanair’s attempts to pressurise regional governments in this way amounted to a distortion of fair trade, O’Leary railed against the faceless bureaucrats. ⁄


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Burning bridges It remains to be seen whether O’Leary’s style – hard-ball at best, bullying at worst – has burnt too many bridges to secure the good will Ryanair may now need if it is to continues to prosper. In such an eventuality, the master of Gigginstown House may have some free time on his hands. But as for Taoiseach? That would be a burnt bridge too far! S

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Low fares based on low pay O’Leary’s “genius” was to adapt the South West approach by reducing the level of benefits to employees so as to increase the dividend for his shareholders – prominent among whom is Ryanair Chairman, David Bonderman – a founding partner of TPG (Texas Pacific Group) Capital with an estimated personal net worth of about $2 billion, according to last year’s Forbes 400 list. Of course, now that Ryanair has become one of the dominant players in European aviation, it can no longer present itself as the plucky “little guy” taking on the big battalions: it is now one of the pillars of the aviation establishment and set to be challenged by the new kids on the block. If it could pick up Aer Lingus at a knockdown price from an Irish Government now so strapped for cash that it might sell its golden share in the national carrier, Ryanair’s position would be greatly strengthened. Otherwise it may need a lot of good will as well as a slice of good fortune to get through this latest challenge.

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Faceless, maybe – but intimidated they were not. And despite all O’Leary’s rhetoric, the Eurocrats did not bat an eyelid! Another element of the myth of O’Leary is that he was the genius who created the low fares model in aviation – and that his resistance to trade unions was essential to keep fares low. While there are many who agree that he developed a low pay model, the low fare concept was pioneered by South West Airlines in the US – which has managed to combine low fares for passengers with decent pay and conditions for a largely unionised workforce.

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BOOK NOW! Offer valid until June 15, 2012 – Prices for summer 2012 on request E-mail any of the following to book the hotel and golf: Jose R. Espinosa – joseespinosa@alborangolf.com (Tel/Fax: 00-34-950208583) Pace Venegas – fvenegas@alborangolf.com Dermot Fagan – fagangolf@yahoo.com PLEASE QUOTE ALBORAN GOLF DEAL: As soon as we confirm your hotel and golf reservation you can book your flights: check Aer Lingus/Ryanair for regular flights to Murcia (2 hours from Alborán or to Malaga (3 hours from Alborán). april 2012

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Too tired to work safely Excessive hours and insufficient sleep is major health risk Workers in Australia are suffering from an ‘unrecognised epidemic’ of tiredness, according to a new study, with working parents particularly badly affected. The working week should be capped at 38 hours, including overtime, to help avoid harm caused by sleep deprivation, the researchers recommend. University of South Australia psychologists, Natalie Skinner and Jill Dorian, surveyed about 970 workers and self-employed business people about their work and sleep habits, moods, and access to leave. About 30% reported feeling fatigued often, saying they were “extremely tired” or “completely exhausted.” A similar proportion never or rarely had seven hours sleep a night. However, this rose to 40% in the case of parents of dependent children.

SPECTRUM

The respondents to the survey highlighted a number of examples of work-related incidents that were affected negatively by tiredness. The researchers say that these work and sleep habits“ are likely to place significant strain on workers’ capacity to be effective and engaged workers, parents, partners, friends and community members.” “Our findings suggest that working 45-plus hours significantly increases the risk of negative outcomes for fatigue and sleep deprivation. These outcomes, in turn, are associated with reduced productivity, community and workplace safety. “Therefore, it is recommended that an upper limit be set for ‘reasonable’ hours no longer than 38 weekly hours, even taking into account operational needs of the workplace or enterprise.”

april 2012

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Remember dead: fight for living

Every year more people are killed at work than in wars. Most do not die of mystery ailments, or in tragic “accidents.” They die because an employer decided their safety just wasn't that important a priority. Workers’ Memorial Day commemorates those workers. Workers’ Memorial Day is held on 28 April every year, all over the world workers and their representatives conduct events, demonstrations, vigils and a whole host of other activities to mark the day. The purpose behind Workers' Memorial Day has always been to “remember the dead: fight for the living” and unions are asked to focus on both areas, by considering events or memorial to remember all those killed through work but at the same time ensuring that such tragedies are not repeated. Workers’ Memorial Day is officially recognised by the UK Government. Make sure that something is organised in your area, whether a vigil, meeting or just a minute’s silence in your workplace.

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WORKERS’ MEMORIAL DAY APRIL 28


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Re-stress-ion takes toll in N. Ireland

Lead researcher, Jonathan Houdmont, observed that national economic crises can have substantial implications for workers’ health and organisational performance. “The findings suggest that those businesses which seek to reduce work-related stress during austere economic times are likely to experience lower staff absence and greater productivity,” he said.

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A study involving tens of thousands of civil servants in Northern Ireland found that one in four workers experienced work-related stress during an economic downturn. The study by researchers at the University of Ulster and the University of Nottingham – which was published in the scientific journal, Occupational Medicine, recently found that work-related stress increased by 40% in times of recession. It also found that the number of employees taking time off due to job stress rose by 25% and total time off due to these types of psychological problems increased by more than one third during the downturn.

The IBOA Safety, Health, Welfare and Security (SHWS) Committee aims to work with members and employers to create healthier, safer working environments for everyone. IBOA has produced guidelines on your rights under health and safety legislation in the Republic and Northern Ireland These can be accessed on the IBOA websites by following these links: • www.iboa.ie/knowyourrights/ yourrightsroi/healthsafety.html for the Republic of Ireland; and • www.iboa.org.uk/knowyour rights/yourrightsni.html for Northern Ireland. If you have any questions or concerns about health, safety or security in your workplace, please contact a member of your local health and safety committee in the first instance. If there is no health and safety committee in your workplace, please contact a member of the IBOA National Committee below: Elaine Barker (BOI), Carmel Curran (FTB), Margaret Power (BOI-GB), Stephen Kennedy (BOI), Etain Ryan Lyons (AIB), Jaynette Stirling (Ulster NI), Robert Thompson (Northern/ Danske) and Kate Varley (AIB). You can contact all of these by e-mail at safety@iboa.ie or by phone at 00-353-(0)1-4755908 or 00-44-(0)2890-200130.

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stress in Northern Ireland – leading to more employees taking time off, according to new research.

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It’s your right Rise in stress-related illness caused by to work in recession – study safety and is adding significantly security! Ttohe recession the incidence of work-related

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IBOA’s training facility is now fully approved by the Further Education and Training Awards Council (FETAC) as a provider of accredited training courses. See Page 32

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UNION HISTORY PUBLISHED

MAINSTREAMING EQUALITY

FIRST CLASS IN IT

The history of the Irish Bank Officials’ Association by Paul Cullen and Mark Duncan was published recently. See Page 33

IBOA develops new equality training for Union activists in co-operation with two other unions – CWU and Mandate. See Page 34

The first group of students have completed the IBOA’s computer skills course in Belfast – run in association with the Union Learning Fund of Northern Ireland. See Page 35

PRESIDENT GUEST AT ICTU WOMEN’S CONFERENCE

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.

President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins, was the keynote speaker at the ICTU Women’s Conference in Belfast’s Waterfront Hall recently. See Page 36

Margaret Mead

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ARTS & LEISURE

BOA District Secretaries from the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland and Britain will meet in Galway in May to consider the Union’s strategic response to the latest developments in the financial services sector.

While a primary concern for delegates will be the impact of the continuing loss of jobs within Irish banking in response to the financial crisis, this will be compounded by further concerns about new operational practices and structures that are likely to be pushed by management on the back of this major reconfiguration of the Irish banking landscape. “Our members are facing the most unprecedented challenges in the history of the Irish financial services sector,” said Union General Secretary, Larry Broderick. “While the Union has been adept in minimising and delaying the impact of the financial crisis so far, we are now entering a critical period which could result in a major transformation of banking as we have known it.

The Union’s Bank District Secretaries’ Conference takes place in the Clayton Hotel in Galway on May 17 and 18.

“Our task will be to try to influence these developments in whatever way we can to protect jobs, working conditions and living standards which are experiencing unprecedented pressure right across the financial services sector,” said the General Secretary.

Sweet deals from IBOA

For the latest news on special offers and discounts for IBOA members, check out the Union websites: www.iboa.ie/my/services or

www.iboa.co.uk/my/services

“This is an extremely demanding situation,” added the Union’s President, Jessie Doherty, “that requires a firm but flexible response from the Union at all levels and in every workplace to ensure that our collective strength is deployed to the best possible effect in the interests of all our members throughout the financial services sector.” “We have to strike a balance between protecting our members terms and conditions of employment during a period of major contraction in the sector. It is situation none of us wish to be in – but we have to find a way through,” she added. The Conference will include presentations on new developments already under way within IBOA in the areas of training and communications. Delegates will also have an opportunity to learn from the experiences of guest speakers, including Alan Tate, from the UNI Global Union Federation, who will offer practical insights into how to maintain and even enhance union strength in times of adversity.

april 2012

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www.iboa.ie

I

IBOA THE FINANCE UNION

Crunch conference

www.iboa.org.uk

ACTIVISTS IN ACTION

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It’s a bit rich!

Bonuses for RBS execs – redundancies for Ulster staff

“These announcements are more than a little rich,” said IBOA General Secretary, Larry Broderick, “when you consider that Ulster Bank announced its intention in January to reduce its staffing levels by a further 950 on top of the 1,000 jobs lost in 2009.” Even though RBS is 82% owned by the British State, the rewards for its senior executives are incredibly generous,” said the IBOA leader. Even though the public outcry forced the RBS Chief Executive, Stephen Hester, to forego one of his performance-related payments for 2012, he and his executive colleagues have still secured substantial bonus awards from the RBS board. “If the senior executives’ performances were assessed according to the kind of criteria applied to our members in Ulster Bank, there is no way they would have been given these awards,” said Mr. Broderick.

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Thank you for Kerry The members of the family of the late Kerry Christie, who passed away last June while serving on the Union’s Executive Committee, have sent the following message to Spectrum so that we can convey their thanks for the support they have received from IBOA members and Ulster Bank staff: Olivia, Amy and I would like to thank the IBOA members and the Ulster Bank staff for their kind thoughts and support through this difficult time. Your generosity has been overwhelming and it is lovely to know that all the money raised will go to help so many people. In addition to this, we are honoured to have had a meeting room in the Bankers’ Club in Belfast named after Kerry. It only emphasises how well thought of she was by the IBOA and its members. Kind regards, Stephen Christie

IBOA General Secretary, Larry Broderick (above) and RBS Group Chief Executive Officer, Stephen Hester (below).

Senior executives in RBS have fallen short and do not merit lavish bonus payments.

IBOA THE FINANCE UNION

www.iboa.ie

www.iboa.org.uk

The recent announcement that senior executives in RBS are to receive substantial bonus payments is adding insult to injury as far as staff in its Irish subsidiary, Ulster Bank, is concerned.

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april 2012

“In RBS’s key performance indicators, they have ‘fallen short.’ The RBS share price has been more than halved in the last year – while the Bank has also failed to meet the targets for lending to small firms set by the British Government. "These lavish rewards for the senior executives in RBS – are in sharp contrast to the Bank's treatment of its Ulster Bank employees – who have been told that the Bank does not intend to match the terms of its 2009 redundancy deal in the new restructuring programme it is now seeking to introduce in Ireland. “Mr. Hester's ultimate boss the British Prime Minister, David Cameron – is very fond of reminding the citizens of the United Kingdom that ‘they are all in it together.’ It is clear that, to paraphrase George Orwell, some are more in it than others," added the IBOA leader.

In response to this touching expression of the Christie family’s gratitude, the Union and its members are honoured to have counted Kerry among our most committed activists – an ardent defender of her fellow workers in Ulster Bank and the RBS Group. We thank you, Stephen, Olivia and Amy for sharing such a remarkable person with us.

The late Kerry Christie


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THE IRISH BANKERS’ CLUB

CLUB OPENING HOURS: Tuesday-Saturday: 4.30pm IBOA HOUSE, STEPHEN STREET UPPER, DUBLIN 8 until late. Telephone: 01-4758970 10am-12noon or after 5pm (Tuesday-Saturday). Sunday-Monday: closed.

Launching:

THE 26th BANKERS’ CLUB DRAW Magnificent Holiday Destinations including China, West Coast USA, London Olympics, Seychelles and Dubai • Great Cash Prizes with 2 Grand Draw Months and Bumper Christmas Draw See Draw Application Forms included with this issue of Spectrum.

Friday June 29: 1st Prize – Two weeks holiday for two to Zakynthos Friday July 27: 1st Prize – Two weeks holiday for two to Portugal Each monthly draw also offers 2nd Prize: E300, 3rd Prize: E250, 4th Prize: 2400.

All Draws at 9pm. Bar Food Each Draw Night from 5pm-10pm plus Big Attendance Prizes

EURO 2012 FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIPS

All Games Live on the Big Screen including June 10: Ireland v. Croatia (19.45) June 14: Ireland v. Spain (19.45) June 18: Ireland v. Italy (19.45) Bar food will be served

Facilities include: • Special room hire rates • Bar and meeting room facilities. • Catering and DJ facilities available • Big screen for all sporting occasions • Full bar licence – extensions available

For more information, please contact Michael Martin, Honorary Secretary, Irish Bankers’ Club at the address above. Results of recent Bankers’ Club draws are posted on the IBOA websites: www.iboa.ie/services/sports andsocial/bankersclub.html www.iboa.org.uk/services/ sportsandsocial/bankersclub.html

Club Bookings

SPECIAL OFFER FOR 2011 All IBOA members, Club members and their friends or family members can book the Irish Bankers Club for a party or special function for just E100 during April, May, June, July and August DON’T MISS OUT – BOOK TODAY april 2012

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www.iboa.ie

Friday May 24: Two weeks holiday for two to Lake Garda

IBOA THE FINANCE UNION

New members welcome – Cost only E20 per annum!

Friday April 27: 1st Prize – Two weeks holiday for two to Costa Dorada

www.iboa.org.uk

CLUB MEMBERSHIP

UPCOMING CLUB DRAW NIGHTS

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IBOA

IBOA training reaches new level Union secures FETAC accreditation for representative training courses

The first course likely to secure FETAC accreditation is a three-day Union Representative Skills programme which is being developed through the pilot stages and external review with a view to securing full validation. A comprehensive training manual to accompany the new programme is also in preparation. Although this programme is being designed to meet the standards required for full

accreditation by FETAC, the course format is being developed in a modular fashion so that the first day of the course can be used on a stand-alone element basic to provide basic training for IBOA Representatives. The new designation of IBOA’s training service as a FETAC approved Training Centre has

FOR IBOA MEMBERS

BOA THE NANCE UN ON IBOA THE FFINANCE UNION

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Approved: FETAC Board member, John Mulcahy (centre) presents the certificate of approval to Marian Geoghegan, IBOA’s Senior Industrial Relations and Training Officer (right) and Jane Higgins, Administration Manager, IBOA (left).

SPECSAPPEAL

www boa e www.iboa.ie

www www iboa.org.uk boa org uk

IBOA has been approved by the Republic’s Further Education Training Awards Council as a provider of accredited education and training courses.

E30 off glasses from the E149 range or above in the Irish Republic £20 off glasses from the £99 range or above in Great Britain and Northern Ireland

To receive your SpecSavers discount voucher, call 0(0-353-)1-4755908 or 0(0-44-)2890-200130.

SPECTRUM

april 2012

been achieved after a lengthy application process – in which the Union was required to develop and implement detailed policies and quality assurance procedures as well as participating in a number of extensive briefing sessions to ensure that the appropriate FETAC standards would be reached and maintained.

Training Benchmarked The Union’s Senior Industrial Relations and Training Officer, Marian Geoghegan, said IBOA’s relationship with FETAC would be key to the future development of the Union’s training service for members. “By securing FETAC accreditation, we are guaranteeing the quality of the training we provide by benchmarking it against a recognised educational qualification. This will add value to our members’ efforts – especially if they want to pursue further educational opportunities at a later date,” she said. “Our aim now is to secure similar accreditation in Northern Ireland and Great Britain – to provide assurances to our members in these jurisdictions as to the credibility of our training provision for them.”


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Handling Change History of IBOA published H

andling Change, the history of IBOA, has just been published by the Collins Press. Produced by Paul Rouse and Mark Duncan, the book was specially commissioned by the Union to mark the renaming of the Irish Bank Officials’ Association as IBOA The Finance Union.

Special Offer for IBOA Members The recommended retail price for Handling Change is E25 or £22.99. IBOA has a limited number of copies for sale to IBOA members at the special discount price of E10 or £8 (including postage and packing). To order up to two copies at the special discount price, please send your name, address, the number of copies required and your IBOA membership number – together with a cheque or postal order for the appropriate amount to IBOA History Orders at IBOA House, Stephen Street Upper, Dublin 8 or e-mail history@iboa.ie.

on workplace

developments,

for special member offers and

discounts and for details

of sports and

social events,

see www.iboa.ie or www.iboa.co.uk

april 2012

SPECTRUM

IBOA THE FINANCE UNION

10% off all products purchased in the Republic of Ireland or Northern Ireland on presentation of your IBOA membership card in store.

For the latest news

www.iboa.ie

www.iboa.org.uk

The evolution of the IBOA offers a fascinating picture of Ireland – not least of how banking moved from a thoroughly conservative industry to one so reckless as to bankrupt the Irish state. Dr. Paul Rouse, formerly of RTE television’s flagship current affairs programme Prime Time, now teaches Irish history at UCD. Mark Duncan works on research projects in Ireland for public and corporate bodies.

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THE EQUALISERS

In the Main

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All together now: Participants in the recent Mainstreaming Equality course run jointly by IBOA The Finance Union, Mandate and the Communication Workers’ Union.

Equality For All IBOA is working with two other trade unions (CWU and Mandate) to deliver a project on mainstreaming equality in our unions and in the various sectors we represent. We are confident that this will be very beneficial for IBOA Representatives and members and will enhance their ability to deal with equality issues and achieve a more equal workplace. There are a number of strands to the project including the design and delivery of equality training and the production of an equality handbook for representatives. The project is supported by the Equality Mainstreaming Unit which is jointly funded by the European Social Fund 2007-2013 and by the Equality Authority. Equality Training A three day training course on Equality Mainstreaming has been designed for Union Officials and Executive Committee members. Course is delivered in modules, which allows flexibility in both timing and methods, and is accompanied by a course

manual which contains case studies on real issues which affect IBOA members as well as other workers, for example, issues relating to poor treatment by employers on return from maternity leave, harassment on grounds of sexual orientation, other discriminatory behaviour. Module 1 covers Understanding Equality particularly from a union perspective. Module 2 focuses on Equality Legislation and Representing Members and Module 3 covers Equality Mainstreaming for Unions. Equality Training for IBOA Representatives We have delivered one full three day training course for the three unions. The benefits of training officials and representatives from three different unions has become apparent during this training course as participants were able to learn from one another and from their contrasting experiences in diverse work situations. IBOA has also incorporated a session on equality into our IBOA Representative Training Courses and so far this has been

received positively by the participants. The aim is to ensure that equality is mainstreamed into our way of doing business. The promotion of equality is a key objective of IBOA as laid down in our Constitution and forms part of the role of IBOA representatives. As part of the project we will evaluate the success of this training. Toolkit To complete the Equality toolkit for IBOA Representatives we are designing a Handbook for Union Representatives and also a model Equality Policy, which can be adapted by various unions for their own purposes. The handbook will help raise awareness of equality and act as a guide for Representatives. All materials will be made available to IBOA Representatives on completion of the project at the end of May 2012 and will be available on IBOA’s websites www.iboa.ie and www.iboa.org.uk. For further information, please contact our Senior Industrial Relations and Training Officer, Marian Geoghegan at marian.geoghegan@iboa.ie.

Funded by the Equality Mainstreaming Unit which is jointly funded by the European Social Fund 2007-2013 and by the Equality Authority

IBOA THE FINANCE UNION

www.iboa.ie

www.iboa.org.uk

Equality should be second nature – not second best

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EUROPEAN SOCIAL FUND


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LIFE & STYLE

ARTS & LEISURE

TRAINING FOR LIFE

COURSE NOTES

“I was looking out for a computer course and was delighted when this became available. Excellent teacher and well worth attending.” Gary, Ulster Bank

www.iboa.org.uk

These members, who work in First Trust Bank, Ulster Bank, Northern Bank and Bank of Ireland completed this City and Guilds certified ICT course following four and a half months of hard but enjoyable work. The course – which ran for three hours on Wednesday evenings in IBOA’s new computer training suite in its Malone Road offices – began in October 2011. It covers Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access (Levels 1 and 2) and use of the internet. Everyone who started the course saw it through to the end. The course tutor, Fiona Commins, is confident that they will all pass with flying colours. This achievement was made possible through IBOA’s involvement in the Union Learning Project in Northern Ireland – which is funded and supported by the Department of Employment and Learning through ICTU’s Northern Ireland Committee.

The course is free of charge to all participants – who also receive other supports such as materials, refreshments, interview skills training and use of the computer training suite outside of class hours.

Next wave A second group – consisting of 17 IBOA members – began the computer skills course in January in Belfast while a similar course in Derry – being run in partnership with the North West Regional College – is well on the way to completion. Successful participation in IBOA’s computer skills training course leads to the award of a Level 1/Level 2 City and Guilds Certificate for the participants. “As this is a suitable competency level for most computer-related jobs, it offers better job prospects for members,” said IBOA Senior Industrial Relations and Training Officer, Marian Geoghegan. “As a result of strong demand from members – particularly in the Belfast area – we are now planning a number of essential computer skills training courses in Northern Ireland for the autumn.”

Stick your name down

Sarah “Even though I already had a CLAIT (Computer Literacy And Information Technology) 1 qualification, I found the course very interesting and worthwhile. It was fun to meet new people as well.” Sarah, Northern Bank

If you want to find out more about the courses or put your name down on the waiting list, contact IBOA House as soon as possible or check out the Union websites.

‘This was an excellent course organised by our Union and shows the commitment to meet our members’ needs. Well done.” Peter, Ulster Bank

It is hoped to make the courses available in a number of locations so please specify the location which would suit you best. Contact Louise O’Donnell or Keelin Murray at @iboa.ie.

“A great way of learning more advanced IT skills – I’d recommend it to IBOA members.” Frank, First Trust Bank

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www.iboa.ie

Congratulations to the very first cohort of fourteen IBOA members who finished the computer skills training course in Belfast recently.

“A fantastic opportunity to learn new ICT skills.” David, Northern Bank

IBOA THE FINANCE UNION

First Class for IT

“Bank employees use Microsoft Office everyday, and I had a peripheral knowledge. The course teaches a mastery of the programme and gives confidence to use them in new ways.” Justin, Ulster Bank

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IBOA IN CONGRESS

NIC-ICTU to meet in Derry

IBOA THE FINANCE UNION

www.iboa.ie

www.iboa.org.uk

Gerry Hanna

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Plaudits from the President

ICTU Women’s Conference hears Michael D. Higgins praise trade unions’ vital role in society and economy Over 200 union delegates gathered at the Waterfront Conference Centre in Belfast last month for the ICTU Women’s Conference. The President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins, gave the keynote address in which he referred to his own close involvement in the trade union movement over the years. He declared that the movement has been central in the development of community and will again play a pivotal role in repairing our damaged society. The President also said that he is proud to have been part of the movement towards gender equality back in the 1970s when there were different pay rates for women and men and also a marriage bar in many jobs (including banking). He praised the solidarity that trade unionism brings to our lives ‘on such issues as equality and human rights’. He was given

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a rousing welcome and standing ovation by participants. As well as the President of Ireland, there was a number of other excellent guest speakers at conference, including Sylvia Walby from Lancaster University who spoke on gender and the capitalist crisis, Dr. Michelle O’Sullivan, University of Limerick, who presented research findings on the economic crisis and the restructuring of wage setting mechanisms for vulnerable workers in Ireland and Andy Snoddy from the trade union, 3F DK, in Denmark who spoke on the challenges of organising women workers in difficult times. IBOA was represented at the conference by Renee Dolan (Ulster Bank), Fionnuala Duignan (National Irish Bank), John O’Gorman (AIB), Ger Rowan (Bank of Ireland), Jaynette Stirling (Ulster Bank) and Senior Industrial Relations and Training Officer, Marian Geoghegan.

april 2012

The IBOA delegation to the ICTU Women’s Conference in Belfast (lef t-right): Marian Geoghegan (Senior Industrial Relations and Training Officer); Renee Dolan (Ulster Bank), John O’Gorman (AIB), Fionnuala Duignan (National Irish Bank), Ger Rowan (Bank of Ireland) and Jaynette Stirling (Ulster Bank). (Photo: Kevin Cooper/ Photoline).

IBOA will be represented at the Biennial Delegate Conference of the ICTU’s Northern Ireland Committee in the City Hotel, Derry on April 17 and 18. The Union has submitted a comprehensive motion on the continuing fall-out from the banking crisis – as it affects both employment and local services to customers – and seeks ICTU support for IBOA’s campaign for a change in banking culture. The Union’s Senior Industrial Relations Officer, Gerry Hanna, is an elected member of NICICTU’s Executive Committee.

President meets Ex-President: President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins (right) meets IBOA Ex-President, Margaret Browne, who is currently Secretary of the ICTU Women’s Committee (Republic of Ireland). Also in the picture are the Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillor Niall Ó Donnghaile and the President’s wife, Sabina. (Photo: Kevin Cooper/Photoline).


LIFE & STYLE

Ireland's newest think tank – the Nevin Economic Research Institute (NERI) – has proposed a new E15 billion stimulus and investment programme for the Republic aimed at creating jobs, boosting demand and aiding economic recovery. The ambitious proposal was outlined at the formal launch of the all-Ireland Institute recently. The Institute’s Director, Dr Tom Healy, described the programme as “a realistic prospect that could contribute significantly to economic recovery. Crucially, the programme of investment over five years will not add one cent to the Government debt or be an additional burden on the taxpayer. “In reality, it could generate resources for the Exchequer through the creation of new jobs and by boosting domestic demand. Dr. Tom Healy of the Nevin Economic “The funds for the investment proResearch Institute (Photo: Laura Hutton gramme can be sourced from the Photocall Ireland) National Pension Reserve Fund; private Irish pension funds – most of which vision of world-class research and analysis, have their resources invested overseas – to contribute to building alternative and from the European Investment Bank perspectives that will lead to the creation of an economy that works for society. (EIB),” Dr Healy explained. It is supported by a number of unions With offices in Dublin and Belfast, affiliated to the ICTU. NERI is a research organisation with a For more information on NERI, check vision of the achievement of a better, online at www.nerinstitute.net. fairer society. It aims, through the pro-

YOUTH COMMITTEE

Youth Committee to plan action campaign Gareth Murphy

IBOA’s Youth Committee is to meet later this month to develop new campaigning actions which will focus on the plight of young bank workers at a time of retrenchment in the industry and austerity in society. Servicing official, Gareth Murphy, told Spectrum that the Committee will also elect a new Chairperson – who will also sit on IBOA’s Executive Committee.

www.iboa.org.uk

Major stimulus plan proposed by unionbacked think tank

ARTS & LEISURE

www.iboa.ie

WORK AGENDA

IBOA THE FINANCE UNION

NEWS

april 2012

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DANSKE STILL COMMITTED TO IRELAND

IBOA

PAY DEAL GIVES RISE TO MAJORITY OF NORTHERN BANK STAFF

Northern Bank staff have voted – by an overwhelming majority – to accept proposals for new salary scales which emerged from protracted negotiations between IBOA and the Bank’s senior management. The new deal will provide an increase of over 2% for the majority of staff. See Page 41

IBOA THE FINANCE UNION

www.iboa.ie

www

Despite the continuing impact of impaired loans on National Irish Bank’s balance sheet, its parent, Danske Bank, recently renewed its commitment to the Irish market. See Page 40

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ULSTER BANK DEMANDS 950 MORE JOB CUTS Never be bullied into silence. Never allow yourself to be made a victim.

Harvey Fierstein

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Union members in Ulster Bank are anxiously awaiting the outcome of the independent mediator’s deliberations on the senior management’s proposals for another major restructuring programme involving 950 job losses – less than three years after Ulster Bank’s One Bank programme saw just under 1,000 staff leave the Bank. See Pages 42-43

april 2012

AIB GROUP RESTRUCTURE PLAN INCLUDES 2,500 JOB LOSSES After almost twelve months since AIB Chairman, David Hodgkinson’s headline-grabbing declaration that the Bank’s senior management intended to seek “in excess of 2,000” job cuts across the Group, the Bank’s employees learned last month that a drastic restructuring plan had been drafted involving 2,500 job losses. As real engagement between IBOA and the Bank finally got under way, it became clear that the many complex issues at stake would be require independent mediation. See Pages 44-45


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BANK OF IRELAND

No change without agreement

Below: IBOA’s Bank of Ireland Group Officer, Dave Keane.

Industrial Relations Officer, Gerry Hanna. “But IBOA cannot accept that such profound changes in work practices should be rolled out right across the branch network without the necessary guarantees being out in place to protect our members’ employment terms and conditions.” “While we have had some engagement with the Bank’s senior management on this matter in recent weeks, so far they have not been prepared to provide us with any of the commitments we require beyond a twelve-month time horizon,” he observed. “IBOA’s Bank of Ireland Executive Committee believes strongly that the Bank’s response so far is insufficient to provide the necessary security for our members,” added IBOA’s Bank of Ireland Officer, Dave Keane. “While IBOA recognises the need to ensure that Bank of Ireland continues its journey back to sound financial health, we do not believe that this recovery will be assisted in any way as long as

staff are expected to work in conditions of continuing insecurity about their future,” he said.

Ongoing stalemate with Department of Finance Meanwhile the implementation of the restructuring programme previously agreed with the Bank in July 2010 continues to be stalled as a result of concerns raised by the Department of Finance over the severance terms to be applied. While the departure of staff in Northern Ireland and Great Britain was facilitated at the end of 2010, the element of the plan covering the Republic of Ireland has still to be activated. It remains to be seen whether recent comments attributed to the Troika about the need to avoid unnecessary delays in the restructuring of Irish banking will prompt the Department of Finance to withdraw its reported objection to the redundancy terms agreed between IBOA and Bank of Ireland management.

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www.iboa.ie

The Union’s Bank of Ireland Executive Committee has urged members throughout the Bank to withhold co-operation with any further change in work practices until such time as a comprehensive agreement is in place – which will provide appropriate guarantees to staff to protect their terms and conditions of employment into the future. “Bank of Ireland is seeking to introduce major changes in its dayto-operations which could have a detrimental effect on the jobs and terms and conditions of employment of all staff,” explained IBOA General Secretary, Larry Broderick. “In particular, two substantial initiatives proposed for the retail branch network are likely to re-shape the business quite dramatically,” he declared, “the Bank’s ‘New Branch’ concept and the centralisation of back office functions.” “These initiatives have been developed on a pilot basis in a small number of locations,” added Senior

Above: Bank of Ireland’s Chief Executive Officer, Richie Boucher. (Photo: Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland).

IBOA THE FINANCE UNION

Talks between IBOA and the senior management on the implementation of major change in the Bank of Ireland are proceeding – but with little sign of a breakthrough, as we go to press.

www.iboa.org.uk

Union withholds co-operation with further change until comprehensive agreement in place

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Union seeks clarity on future of Lombard

40

Lombard Ireland is part of the non-core division of the RBS Group and with little chance of a sale staff are fearing the worst. After a number of members’ meetings, the Union Committee met Mr. Jones-Molyneux, Head of Corporate and Institutional Assets at RBS, to express staff’s concerns and desire for clarity and assurances about their future. Mr. Jones-Molyneux said he appreciated the dilemma facing staff in such an uncertain environment. He has committed to brief the staff and IBOA in detail on the company’s plans later this month, once the Bank’s internal deliberations have been concluded. IBOA stressed the need for as much clarity as possible and for appropriate processes and protections for staff. It has been agreed that senior management will work to put a plan in place with IBOA over the coming weeks.

IBOA

NATIONAL IRISH BANK

Above: National Irish Bank, College Green, Dublin. (Photo: James Horan/Photocall Ireland. Below: IBOA’s Danske Bank Group Officer, Robert Thompson.

Integration issues in Permanent TSB go to mediation

After lengthy discussions between IBOA and management at Permanent TSB failed to resolve a number of issues surrounding the integration of former Irish Nationwide staff into Permanent TSB and the harmonisation of their terms and conditions of employment, the matter was referred to the independent mediator, Mr. Martin King for consideration. Both the Union and management have made detailed submissions to Mr. King who is expected to issue a recommendation to the parties shortly.

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National Irish Bank’s Danish parent committed to Ireland National Irish Bank (NIB) has declared that it remains firmly committed to Ireland – along with its parent, Danske Bank – in spite of continuing losses arising from the Bank’s exposure to the collapse in property prices. Although NIB’s annual results announced recently reflect further significant losses, the underlying figures for the Bank’s operating costs indicate that the new strategy adopted by the Bank in

2010 is now beginning to make a positive impact on the balance sheet. The renewed commitment from NIB and its parent, Danske, follows IBOA’s recent meeting with the Bank’s Chief Executive, Andrew Healy who re-affirmed the Bank’s intention to adhere to all existing agreements with IBOA as well as reiterating his earlier undertaking that no further redundancies are planned.

IBOA has urged senior management at National Irish Bank to reconsider its approach to the application of the new Minimum Competency Code from the Central Bank. “National Irish Bank’s new requirement that all network employees should achieve full QFA status – regardless of role – will place unnecessary and unfair

demands on large numbers of staff,” said IBOA’s Danske Bank Group Officer, Robert Thompson. NIB’s approach is significantly out of line with the rest of the banking industry,” he added, “which generally recognises that the qualifications required of an individual employee should match the role he or she is required to perform.”

Talks on MCC continue


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NORTHERN BANK

The offer was then accepted in a ballot of the membership by an overwhelming majority. Lead negotiator, Gerry Hanna, told Spectrum that while the Union entered the talks with the aim of protecting members’ living standards, the team was also very aware that the issue of job security was at least as important for members. “So our objective was to secure progress in two crucial areas,” he said, “to secure an increase in pay along with an extension to the commitments in job security contained in the Strategic Agreement between IBOA and the Bank, which were due to be reviewed in June.”

For full details of the new pay terms, see the IBOA websites: www.iboa.ie northern-bank/9 or www.iboa.org.uk northern-bank/9

“When negotiations opened, the prospects for a successful outcome were not encouraging. Management representatives indicated that, in the current economic climate, where some employers had introduced salary reductions, they would be seeking a pay freeze,” said Hanna. “However, as the negotiations progressed, new proposals began to emerge which would provide increases in pay for eligible staff – with the majority of our members receiving increases of over 2%. “At the same time, the Bank also offered to extend its commitment on job security until December 2012 – which ensures that any further job reductions

Northern Bank, Donegall Square (Photo: Kevin Cooper/PhotoLIne).

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that may be sought in Northern Bank will continue to be implemented on a voluntary basis. IBOA General Secretary, Larry Broderick, paid tribute to the Union’s Northern Bank negotiating team, led by Senior Industrial Relations Officer, Gerry Hanna, and IBOA’s Danske Group Officer, Robert Thompson. “These negotiations took place in very challenging circumstances for the financial services sector in Northern Ireland and for the economy generally,” he said. “But the team were able to secure a positive outcome with the continuing support of the Union’s members throughout Northern Bank.”

Holiday Apartments to Rent Adverts placed for IBOA members by IBOA members

Check out the IBOA websites: www.iboa.ie/ my/services/ smallads.html

or

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fter very difficult and protracted pay talks, IBOA’s negotiating team in Northern Bank secured an offer of new salary scales which would provide an increase of over 2% for the majority of staff.

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Pay rise of 2% for majority of staff in Northern Bank

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Union members in Ulster Bank are anxiously awaiting the outcome of the independent mediator’s deliberations on the senior management’s proposals for another major restructuring programme involving 950 job losses – less than three years after Ulster Bank’s One Bank programme which saw 1,000 staff leave the Bank.

Second major restructure proposed for Ulster Bank

IBOA THE FINANCE UNION

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Management seeks 950 additional job cuts

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Ulster Bank’s announcement on January 12 of its intention to seek a further 950 job cuts so soon after its previous rationalisation was met with disbelief by the staff and by Union representatives. In his immediate response to the Bank’s announcement, IBOA General Secretary, Larry Broderick, said “the sheer magnitude of this second wave of proposed redundancies is breath-taking.” However, in line with the procedural agreement with the Bank, IBOA and SIPTU (representing a number of staff who became assimilated into Ulster Bank when the First National Building Society was merged into Ulster Bank) entered into exploratory talks with the Bank. However, at an early stage in the process, it became clear that direct agreement between the

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Above: Ulster Bank Head Office in George’s Quay, Dublin. Below: IBOA General Secretary Larry Broderick talks to the media.

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parties would not be possible on a number of issues tabled by senior management. These issues included: • a major dilution of the severance terms previously on offer in the One Bank programme and the absence of an early retirement option; • proposals for major policy changes which, taken all together, would undermine our members’ terms and conditions of employment to a significant extent; and • management’s insistence on a pay freeze for continuing staff. The unacceptable nature of these proposals was compounded by management’s inability to disclose the impact of its restructuring proposals on a number of areas of the Group – and especially on the branch network.

IBOA had also asked for detailed financial information to be made available to enable the Union’s advisers, Mazars, to assess the assumptions behind the business case for the Bank’s restructuring proposals. While some information was forthcoming during the direct negotiations with the Bank, it lacked the detail necessary to allow for a full evaluation of the business plan. In a comprehensive submission to the independent mediator, Martin King, IBOA says that it cannot accept that the proposals set out by the Bank are justified, based on the financial information provided so far by the Bank. The Union argues that any approach to redundancies should ⁄


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tive provisions are not used to disadvantage staff in either Northern Ireland or the Republic relative to each other. Following engagement with the parties, the mediator, Martin King, has undertaken to produce his recommendations on or after April 10 to enable IBOA and SIPTU to ballot their

respective members on his proposals. The balloting process is due to be completed no later than May 8 – with the parties due to meet again on May 9 to indicate their formal responses to the independent mediator’s recommendations. S

Time to take stock? Rumours of RBS share sale heighten speculation about Ulster Bank’s future

Below: Independent Mediator, Martin King.

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Sickness and absence The senior management also wants changes in the sickness and absence policy for new staff – which would represent a major departure from the established norms in Irish banking. The Union believes that the existing policies should remain in place – especially since Ulster Bank is unlikely to recruit any new staff in the near future if it is genuine about the need to cut the number of current staff. IBOA has also strongly urged the mediator to recognise that settlement terms he might recommend should meet the need for equity between the two jurisdictions so that different legis- la-

Members of IBOA’s Ulster Bank Executive Committee on their way into talks at the Ulster Bank Head Office in George’s Quay, Dublin: (from left) Ulster Bank Officer, John Burns; Joe Allsopp; Jaynette Stirling; Ian Perth; General Secretary Larry Broderick; Tommy Kennedy and Renee Dolan.

Speculation about the long-term future of Ulster Bank has increased recently amid reports that the British Government is considering selling off part of its majority stake in Royal Bank of Scotland, Ulster Bank’s parent company. The British Government, which owns 82% of RBS, has been widely reported to be in protracted talks with an Abu Dhabi-based sovereign wealth fund over a sale of a portion of its stake through UKFI, the holding company established to manage the British State’s stakes in the UK’s part-nationalised banks. Although media speculation has suggested that up to 33% of the shares may be up for sale, most analysts appear to believe that only around 10% are likely to be sold in the immediate future. A share disposal at this level, in and of itself, is unlikely to have any serious consequences for Ulster Bank’s position within the RBS Group, according to these commentators. However, if this level were to rise, then so would speculation about the Bank’s future.

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Changes in policies sought As part of its proposed restructuring framework, Ulster Bank management is also seeking substantial changes to a number of existing policies – including redeployment, grievance and appeals procedures, selection, replacement and promotions policies – under which staff redeployed to new roles could be required to accept a pay cut and other reductions in their terms and conditions of employment. The Bank is also seeking major changes in other policies such as long-term employment breaks, acting-up allowance, club subs, personal fuel allowance, and frequent transfer allowance. The Union has rejected these proposals on the grounds that the Bank is acting opportunistically – not least because this blatant infringement of its members’ contractual rights would yield minimal cost savings to the Bank.

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be on a voluntary basis in line with industry norms. The severance terms proposed by management – which reflect the deal on offer elsewhere in the RBS Group – are significantly less than the established norms within Irish banking. The Union argues that if the Bank is genuinely committed to securing a significant job reduction on a voluntary basis, then the terms should reflect sectoral norms. The Union has also urged management to include an appropriate early retirement option.

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AIB GROUP

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After almost twelve months since AIB Chairman, David Hodgkinson’s headlinegrabbing declaration that the Bank’s senior management intended to seek “in excess of 2,000” job cuts across the Group, the Bank’s employees learned last month that a drastic restructuring plan had been drafted involving 2,500 job losses. As real engagement between IBOA and the Bank finally got under way, it became clear that the many complex issues at stake would require independent mediation.

T

he extent of the job cuts proposed by AIB’s senior management in announcing its restructuring plan on March 8 came as a surprise to many AIB staff – since the figure was considerably more than the massive total already identified in 2011.

AIB plans restructure with 2,500 job losses Negotiations head into mediation Above: AIB Bankcentre in Ballsbridge, Dublin (Photo: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland) Below: David Duffy, Chief Executive, AIB Group.

“Although we have been expecting an announcement on the Bank's restructuring plan for some time,” said IBOA General Secretary, Larry Broderick, “the scale of the proposed job losses means that ordinary bank staff are being asked to suffer the consequences of the mismanagement of the Bank’s affairs to a disproportionate extent.” Acknowledging AIB management’s commitment to negotiate with the Union on the restructuring plan, the IBOA leader said that he hoped the Bank would attempt to reach a balanced accommodation which would take account of all of the Bank's stakeholders – including staff and customers as well as Government and shareholders.

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In its initial response to the Bank’s announcement, the Union identified the key issues to be resolved in the talks process as follows: • to protect as many jobs as possible; • to implement any job losses on a voluntary basis; • to agree fair voluntary severance terms with appropriate early retirement options; • to protect the terms and conditions of employment of all the staff on whom the future of AIB will be built; and • to introduce a substantial change in the culture of AIB to ensure that the ethos and the practices which brought the Bank to the brink of collapse are eliminated. When the talks got under way, the Union presented its case about the need for a comprehensive overarching agreement between the parties which would not only address the specific issues around the Bank’s job reduction proposals, but would also provide all AIB staff with a clear understanding of the future strategic direction of the Bank – so that they could make what could be a potentially life-changing decision about their personal futures on a fully informed basis.

According to IBOA, the agreement should, therefore, deal with a range of issues including: • the need to avoid any compulsory redundancies; • suitable terms for voluntary severance and early retirement in line with sectoral norms; • the provision of comprehensive financial information to support the business case for the Bank’s proposed cost savings; • full details of management’s plan for the future of AIB to enable all staff to make an informed decision about their future; • protection of the pay, pensions, terms and conditions of employment of the staff who will remain in the Bank’ • commitment to address all outstanding issues – including pay, retention payments, promotion policies, new contract of employment and change in culture – within the existing framework for engagement between AIB and IBOA. “Unfortunately, the response from the senior management team on all of these issues was less than satisfactory,” General Secretary, Larry Broderick, told Spectrum. ⁄


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Contract must be honoured

“Their focus was limited to the issues of voluntary severance and early retirement – and both on terms significantly less than the norms which have been established in Irish banking.” Management also indicated that its capacity to address some of the issues identified by IBOA was significantly constrained by the Bank’s financial state and by the mandate it had received from the Republic’s Department of Finance. In view of the major differences between the parties, it was agreed to refer all outstanding issues to Kevin Foley, the Director of Conciliation at the Labour Relations Commission. S

Breakthrough in Direct Banking

After protracted negotiations with management over the Bank’s failure to meet its contractual obligations to Direct Banking staff, IBOA secured a comprehensive set of proposals which would see these staff realigned onto the Career Framework salary structure in AIB. This will provide for ongoing benefits for our members as well as removing the status of second-class citizens within AIB. Members in Direct Banking in Naas and Swords voted to accept these settlement proposals by a substantial majority. Meanwhile the Union is continuing its efforts to secure an acceptable resolution of similar difficulties experienced by staff in the First Trust Bank Contact Centre in Belfast.

Further rulings expected on claims for staff in other jurisdictions The British Tribunal is the first to make a determination on a number of similar contractual claims taken by IBOA on behalf of members throughout AIB Group. A decision is expected shortly following a recent Tribunal hearing on a similar claim taken on behalf of IBOA members in First Trust Bank. Meanwhile in the Republic of Ireland, the Union is still waiting for confirmation of a date for a hearing from the Rights Commissioner service – which is currently working its way through a backlog of other industrial relations cases.

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As media speculation mounted in early March about an imminent announcement from AIB, IBOA secured urgent meetings with senior officials from the Republic’s Department of Finance as well as with the Bank’s Chief Executive, David Duffy, at which the Union outlined its key concerns. In the talks with the Department of Finance, the Union team also highlighted the need for a comprehensive jobs strategy for the financial services sector since the AIB job cuts announcement from AIB comes plan followed Ulster Bank’s demand in January for a further 950 job cuts.

IBOA THE FINANCE UNION

IBOA meets Department of Finance on AIB plan

IBOA’s AIB team on their way into the Republic’s Department of Finance for talks on the morning of the AIB Group announcement of its restructuring plans on March 8: (from left) President, Jessie Doherty; AIB Group Officer, Claire Walsh; General Secretary, Larry Broderick; and Honorary Finance Officer, Sharon McAuley (Photo: Sasko Lazarov, Photocall Ireland).

The Employment Tribunal has upheld the claim by IBOA members in Allied Irish Bank (GB) that they were contractually entitled to be paid their performance-related pay increase in 2010, in line with the collective agreement between IBOA and AIB in place since 2001. The Tribunal ruled that the Bank’s failure to honour these contractual entitlements amounted to an unlawful deduction from their pay. Following the Tribunal finding, IBOA has formally asked the Bank to accept the Employment Tribunal finding and apply the appropriate increases for 2010, 2011 and 2012 for all of the Union’s members in AIB (GB) entitled to these payments.

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Tribunal backs IBOA claim over contract payments in GB

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POSITIVE STEPS TO REDUCE YOUR RISK OF CANCER

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With the World Health Organisation predicting recently that Ireland could experience a 72% rise in the number of cancer cases by 2030, this special four-page feature aims to raise awareness of practical steps to reduce your risk of developing the disease. You have the power to reduce your cancer risk by one-third by eating a healthy diet, being physically active and being a healthy weight. This guide from the Irish Cancer Society will help you achieve a healthier lifestyle that will not only reduce your risk of cancer, but leave you feeling great and with more energy. See Pages 48-51

HICKEY’S PHARMACIES

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10% discount for IBOA members on all products

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Turn your wounds into wisdom.

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Oprah Winfrey

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BOOK MARKS

In Wealth vs. Work, Allan Ornstein describes how the US has become increasingly polarised into “winners” and “losers,” and, how an oligarchy of big business and financial interests holds the levers of power. In Casino Capitalism Hans-Werner Sinn examines the causes of the banking crisis, points out the flaws in the economic rescue packages, and presents a master plan for the reform of financial markets. See Page 53

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(excluding medicines and prescriptions)

AT HICKEY’S PHARMACIES IN ARKLOW, CORK, DROGHEDA, DUBLIN,* DUNDALK, GOREY, MAYNOOTH, NAVAN AND NEWBRIDGE * Coolock, Crumlin, Finglas, Grafton Street, Harold’s Cross, Henry Street, O’Connell Street, Ongar, Phibsboro, Santry, Tallaght, Terenure and Tyrrelstown.


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Which came first: the chicken nugget or the egg muffin? I

Almudena Sanchez-Villegas

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part in the study. They were monitored for an average of six months – during which time 493 were either diagnosed with depression or started to take antidepressants. Although the study only showed an association and not a cause-and-effect link between fast food consumption and depression, these latest findings have raised further concerns for fast food eaters – not least because the results appear to back up an earlier study of the links between fast food consumption and depression which recorded 657 new cases of depression out of a sample of 12,059 people analysed over more than six months. “Although more studies are necessary, the intake of this type of food should be controlled because of its implications for both physical health and mental well-being,” added Ms. Sanchez-Villegas.

Research has still to answer the question: Do we consume fast food because we are depressed – or do we become depressed because we eat fast food? april 2012

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According to a recent study, published in the Public Health Nutrition journal, a team of scientists from the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and the University of Granada in Spain, people who consume fast food on a regular basis are 51% more likely to develop depression compared to those who eat little or none. Furthermore, the team also observed a ‘dose-response’ relationship. “The more fast food you consume, the greater the risk of depression,” said lead researcher, Almudena SanchezVillegas. The study also found that those participants who ate the most fast food and commercial baked goods were also more likely to be single, less active and to have poor dietary habits – eating less fruit, vegetables and fish than recommended. This group was also more likely to smoke and to work in excess of 45 hours a week. Similar mental health effects were also found for the consumption of commercial baked goods. “Even eating small quantities is linked to a significantly higher chance of developing depression,” according to Ms. SanchezVillegas. A total of 8,964 people – who had never been previously diagnosed with depression or taken antidepressants – took

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t would come as no surprise to most comfort eaters that researchers link to depression to the consumption of fast food such as hamburgers, hotdogs and pizza and mass produced baked goods like croissants, doughnuts and fairy cakes. But the burning question is “which is the cause and which is the effect?”

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Three positive steps to reduce your risk of cancer

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has a particular affinity with the subject of cancer. In recent years IBOA has made donations to the Irish Cancer Society and to Macmillan Cancer Care – the latest resulting from the recent fundraising drive in memory of the late Kerry Christie. With the World Health Organisation predicting recently that Ireland could experience a 72% rise in the number of cancer cases by 2030, we believe that, as well as our donations, we should also try to raise awareness of practical steps to reduce the risk of developing the disease.

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power to reduce your cancer risk by one-third by eating a healthy diet, being physically active and being a healthy weight. This 3-step guide from the Irish Cancer Society will help you achieve a healthier lifestyle that will not only reduce your risk of cancer, but leave you feeling great and with more energy.

Step 1

eat a healthy diet The type of foods you eat can help you reduce your cancer risk. Your body needs nutrients from food to give you energy, keep you warm and protect you from disease. You can make food choices that give you a greater chance of avoiding cancer as well as meeting your body’s needs. The Food Pyramid tells you what makes up a healthy balanced diet. Following its guidelines improves your chance of staying healthy and reduces your cancer risk. Use it to plan your daily diet. (See the Food Pyramid opposite.)

Cut down on foods high in calories, fat and sugar

This includes cakes, sweets and biscuits. Many foods from the top of the Food Pyramid are high in calories, fat and sugar and are low in nutrients. Cutting down on them can help you avoid becoming overweight or obese and reduce your cancer risk.

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g g calories, fats and sugar reduces your risk of a number of cancers, such as bowel and breast cancer (in postmenopausal women).

Eat more wholegrains, fruit, vegetables and pulses Wholegrains Wholegrains help you to stay full for longer, keep a healthy weight and may reduce your risk of some cancers. To increase your intake of wholegrains each day choose: • brown bread instead of white • porridge or wholegrain cereals for a healthy breakfast • brown rice instead of white rice • wholewheat pasta instead of ordinary pasta. Fruit & Vegetables • Eat at least five portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables a day • Use fresh, tinned (in natural juices or light syrup), frozen or dried fruit and vegetables • Smoothies, vegetable soups, stews and casseroles can also help to boost your intake • Remember fruit juices are high in sugar, so keep to one serving per day (150 ml)


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By choosing a good selection of brightly coloured fruit and vegetables, like peppers, tomatoes and berries in season, you will get many of the important nutrients your body needs. Pulses Pulses – such as peas, beans and lentils – are good to include in your diet most days. They are high in fibre and protein and can help keep hunger pangs away.

Tinned versions are convenient. But remember to drain away any liquid from the tin as it may be high in salt Add them to salads, soups or casseroles.

Limit your intake of red and processed meat

A diet high in red and processed meat is linked to bowel cancer. Stick to the recommended weekly amount to reduce your risk.

Limit or avoid eating processed meat. Choosing not to include processed meat in your diet can make a difference to your risk of cancer

What are processed meats? Processed meats are meats that have been smoked, cured, salted or had chemical preservatives added. Sausages, hams, salami, pastrami, hot dogs and rashers are some examples.

Meat is rich in valuable nutrients like protein and iron, but when taken in large amounts it can increase your risk of certain cancers. Therefore: • Limit your intake to 500g or 18oz of cooked lean red meat per week (800g / 28oz of lean raw meat). This can be split into four or five portions over the week RED MEAT Pork or lamb chop ‘Quarterpounder’ beefburger Medium portion of roast beef, lamb or pork Medium steak

Cooked wt. 75g 90g 90g 145g

Instead you could try: • Eggs (poached or scrambled) for breakfast; • Chicken or turkey (with the skin removed) or salmon for sandwiches or salads; • Spicy chicken instead of pepperoni on pizza; • Fresh/canned fish, chicken or other forms of poultry instead of red meat a couple of days a week; or • A meat-free day.

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Fruit, vegetables, wholegrains and pulses are generally low in calories and fat so they are a good food choice to help you watch your weight and reduce your cancer risk. They also contain: • vitamins and minerals that help keep the body healthy and strengthen the immune system; • antioxidants that help protect cells in the body from damage that can lead to cancer; and • fibre that is linked to a reduced cancer risk.

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Limit your intake of alcohol

Check it out

Drinking alcohol increases your risk of cancer. To reduce the risk, avoid or limit your intake to: • Men – no more than two standard drinks per day • Women – one standard drink per day What is a standard drink? • 1/2 pint of beer, lager, cider or stout • 1 measure of spirits • 125ml of wine (small glass)

How often should women have a cervical smear? Every 3 years from age 25 to 44. Every 5 years from age 45 to 60. How often should women have a mammogram? Every 2 years from age 50 to 64.

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Limit your intake of salt

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Salt is needed for human health, but Irish people take almost twice as much as they need. Many foods contain salt, such as breads and processed foods like meats, ready meals and pizzas, sauces, crackers, cakes, snack foods and cereals. Food does not have to taste salty to have high levels of salt in it.

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Step 2

be physically active Being physically active helps avoid weight gain, obesity and reduces your risk of cancer. It also helps prevent heart disease and diabetes, and can make you feel better both physically and mentally. How active do you need to be? • Every little helps but the more active you are the better. • Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity each day. • If you are already active for 30 minutes every day, you could try doing an extra few minutes. You could also step up the effort. For example, if you like to walk, swing your arms and walk a little faster. What is moderate activity? Moderate activity is any activity that gets your heart beating a

To cut down your intake of salt: • Use mainly fresh ingredients when cooking • Choose foods low in salt – try spicy flavours instead • Cut out salt when cooking and at the table • Flavour foods with black pepper, herbs, lemon juice, garlic and spices.

How to get started • Check with your doctor before you start if you have not been active for a while or have health problems • Start slowly with 10–15 minutes of physical activity three to four times per week • Gradually build it up to 30 minutes a day • Two or three short sessions can be used to make up the daily 30 minutes. You don’t have to be sporty to be physically active and it doesn’t have to cost money. Walking, cycling and doing vigorous housework, like vacuuming, all count. Other ideas are gardening, walking to the shop, taking the stairs instead of the lift, or dancing to your favourite music at home. Being physically active can protect you against bowel cancer and most likely breast (in postmenopausal women) and womb cancer too.

be a healthy weight

Dietary supplements are no substitute for a healthy balanced diet

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little faster than normal and makes you breathe a little deeper and faster – for example, brisk walking.

Step 3

Salt and foods preserved with salt are most likely a cause of stomach cancer.

Most people can get all the nutrients they need by following a healthy balanced diet using the Food Pyramid. The best source of nourishment is food and drink, not dietary supplements. There may be times during your life when your doctor or dietitian may advise you to take supplements for a period of time. Otherwise, there is no need.

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Body mass index Draw a line across from your weight, and up or down from your height. Where these two lines cross is your body mass index. To reduce your cancer risk aim to be at the lower end of the normal BMI range.

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Your risk of getting some cancers and other diseases increases if you are overweight or obese. Extra fat stored around your waist puts you at greater risk. There are two ways of finding out if you are a healthy weight: • Body mass index (BMI) • Waistline measurement The risk of cancer of the bowel, kidney, womb and breast (in postmenopausal women), oesophagus and pancreas are all strongly linked with being overweight or obese.


What does your BMI measurement mean? •

with all the nutrients they need and help to reduce their risk of becoming overweight and obese at the same time. For this reason, it is best to breastfeed your baby for the first six months, if possible. After that, continue to breastfeed as you add other liquids and food to your baby’s diet.

Less than 18.5: You are underweight – which can lead to health problems. From 18.5 to 24.9: You are a healthy normal weight and at a lower risk of cancer. From 25 to 29.9: You are overweight – and at increased risk of cancer. Greater than 30: You are obese and your risk of cancer is even greater.

The European Code against Cancer

If you are under- or overweight, it is important to see your doctor. A medical checkup and advice on diet and lifestyle may be needed. Remember, BMI is not always an accurate measure if you are an athlete, pregnant or very short in height.

Waist measurement To measure your waistline: • Find the top of your hipbone • At this point, measure round your waist. Make sure the tape measure is snug but not marking your skin • Take the measurement at the end of your normal breath You are at increased risk of cancer if your waistline is: • greater than 94 cm or 37 inches for men; or • greater than 80 cm or 31.5 inches for women. If you are a healthy weight keep it that way: • Be physically active. • Eat a healthy, varied diet as shown in the Food Pyramid. • Watch your portion size. (See the Food Pyramid for guidelines.) • Snack on fruit and vegetables if you are hungry. • Check food labels. Low fat foods that are high in sugar may not help you to maintain a healthy weight.

Other

important information Advice for cancer survivors

Research has shown that eating a healthy diet, being physically active and being a healthy weight may help reduce your risk of cancer coming back. Follow our cancer prevention advice for diet, physical activity and weight. Make sure to check with your doctor first that the prevention advice is suitable for you.

Breastfeed your baby – if you can

Breastfeeding helps to protect mothers against breast cancer. It is the ideal way to provide babies

The European Code against Cancer outlines healthier lifestyle choices that can help you avoid certain cancers and improve your general health. These include: • If you smoke, plan to quit. • Eat at least five servings a day of a variety of fruits and vegetables. • Limit your intake of fatty foods. • If you drink alcohol, limit your intake to no more than two standard drinks per day for men and one standard drink per day for women. • Do brisk physical activity every day. • Be a healthy weight. • Protect yourself from the sun and avoid sunburn – especially in children. • See a doctor if you notice a lump, a sore that does not heal, a mole that changes in shape, size or colour, or bleeds in unusual circumstances. • See a doctor if you have persistent problems, such as an ongoing cough or hoarseness, a change in bowel or bladder habit, or unexpected weight loss. • Women from 25 years of age should avail of cervical screening. • Women from 50 years of age should avail of breast screening.

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Useful Contacts

Republic of Ireland The Irish Cancer Society has a wide range of leaflets and factsheets about a wide variety of cancers. To order, please call 01-2310539. Anyone concerned about cancer can speak to a specialist nurse in confidence by calling the National Cancer Helpline on 1800 200 700. The Helpline is open Monday–Thursday from 9am–7pm and Fridays 9am–5pm. You can also access the Irish Cancer Society helpline at helpline@irishcancer.ie or its website on www.cancer.ie.

Northern Ireland

In Northern Ireland a range of organisations deal with different aspects of the disease. These include: Action Cancer – 02890803344(office hours) Macmillan Cancer Support – 0808 808 2020 (Monday-Friday 9am-6pm) Marie Curie Cancer Care – 02890 882000 (office hours) Cancer Research UK – 0808 800 4040 (Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm) Ulster Cancer Foundation – 0800 783 3339 (Monday-Friday 9am– 5pm). Details of key support organisations are listed on the Northern Ireland Cancer Network website at www.cancerni.net

Great Britain

Cancer Research UK is the UK’s leading cancer charity – contact 020 7242 0200 or www. cancerresearchuk.org

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Not just in Russia – Oligarchs dominate America too

In Casino Capitalism Hans-Werner Sinn examines the causes of the banking crisis, points out the flaws in the economic rescue packages, and presents a master plan for the reform of financial markets. Sinn argues that the crisis came about because limited liability induced both Wall Street and Main Street to gamble with real estate properties. He meticulously describes the process of lending to American homeowners and criticises both the process of securitising and selling mortgage claims to the world, as well as the poor job rating agencies did in providing transparency. He argues that the American Dream has ended because the world now realises that this dream was built on loans that are never likely to be repaid. Sinn also asserts that the banking crisis has not yet been resolved, because the necessary write-offs of toxic assets have largely been swept under the carpet. Comparing actual worldwide write-offs with those estimated by the IMF estimates, he concludes that substantial parts, if not most, of the true losses have yet to be revealed and that the banking systems of many countries are on the brink of insolvency. Published by the Oxford University Press, a paperback edition is due for release in September.

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Betting against the bank

social mobility and stratification, manufacturing jobs, outsourcing jobs, unions and collective bargaining, unfettered capitalism, millionaires and billionaires, tax reform, college tuition and pension plans, merit and talent, innovation and technology, immigration, China and India and emerging global issues. Professor of education at St. John’s University in New York, Allan Ornstein has served as a consultant for over 60 US government and education agencies, and has written widely on education and social issues.

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Right now the top 1% of the population in the US owns nearly 40% of the nation’s wealth – with their income from investments, capital gains and dividends taxed at a lower rate than ordinary workers’ salaries. The author outlines the need for a fair and just society, one that sets limits on the accumulation of wealth and inherited privilege, and provides safety nets for middleclass and working-class people. Among the other issues highlighted by Ornstein in the book are excellence versus equality, education and income,

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Wealth vs. Work by Allan Ornstein describes how the US has been divided into separate estates, with catchphrases that harshly sort people into “winners” and “losers,” Wall Street and Main Street, and rich and poor (or working poor); and, how the government of the people has been replaced by an oligarchy of big business and financial interests – which not even the recent global crisis has been able to dent.

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CIRQUE DU SOLEIL SPECTACULAR

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Alegría, the remarkable show from Cirque du Soleil, opens at Dublin’s O2 Arena later this month. IBOA members can avail of a special discount price. IBOA is also offering two tickets to the show for the lucky winner of our special competition. See Pages 56-57

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LITTLE BIG CLUB The Little Big Club Live in Concert will bring together many children’s favourite characters live on stage in a 90-minute stage show in Dublin’s Olympia Theatre in July. Special discounts are available for IBOA members. See Page 57

PRIZE CROSSWORD Test your word power with our latest crossword and perhaps you could be in line for the E50 prize. See Page 60

PICTURE BOARD & SUDOKU Money can't buy friends, but you can get a better class of enemy.

Spike Milligan

FROM JACK TO TRAP Game Time welcomes back a fit again George Hamilton to reflect on Irish soccer’s special affection for the European Soccer Championships – since Jack Charlton first raised the bar for Irish international soccer. See Pages 58-59

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Prizes of E30 each are on offer for solving our picture quiz and the sudoku challenge. Why not give them a try? See Page 61

ULTRA VIOLET Truth can indeed be stranger than fiction as the latest instalment of Stephen Malone’s column takes on a culinary dimension. See Page 62-63


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CINEMATIX

ARTS & LEISURE

Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games

from her family and friends as well as the first stirrings of teenage love. Ross first came to prominence as the screenwriter of the Tom Hanks comedy, Big (1988) and then Dave (1993), the Kevin Kline comedy about the US President’s lookalike. He moved to the director’s chair for Pleasantville (1998) and the wonderful Seabiscuit (2003) which he also wrote. Although the movie cannot replicate the restrained anger of the book’s narrative, Katniss’s first-person observations are seen in the film through the eyes of some of the surrounding characters. The strong supporting cast includes Woody Harrelson and Donald Sutherland who has extended his acting career by playing malevolent ageing alpha males.

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Donald Sutherland as President Snow in The Hunger Games

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brought to the Capitol to compete in a televised fight to the death until only one survives. In the grim and impoverished District 12, when a terrified Primrose Everdeen (Willow Shields) is drawn to compete, her older sister, Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) volunteers in her place – in an obvious echo of the ancient Greek myth of Theseus and the Minotaur. In Katniss Everdeen, director and co-screenwriter, Gary Ross, may have unearthed one of the most intriguing heroines in modern cinema: not only is she required to develop the necessary physical attributes to survive in the most extreme circumstances – but she must also develop the emotional and psychological strength to deal with the separation

BOA THE F NANCE UN ON

With Harry Potter, Narnia and Twilight series, major film studios seems to be looking to build movie franchises from the start – rather than simply trying to repeat the success of a one-off movie – after it has been proven at the boxoffice – by making a sequel. The Hunger Games – which brings the first of Suzanne Collins’ best-selling trilogy of novels to the screen – may be the start of a new cinema phenomenon. Set in a dystopian future centuries after cataclysmic natural and man-made events in North America, the prosperous Capitol is at the centre of a dictatorship which exploits twelve satellite districts. In the annual Hunger Games – reality television taken to extremes – a male and female teenager from each district are

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Ancient Greek myth inspires movie set in future Hunger Games set to be ‘the next big thing’

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Circle of Delights

in the Circus of Light/Cirque du Soleil

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he international entertainment phenomenon, Cirque du Soleil, is bringing its critically-acclaimed live show, Alegría, to the MEN Arena, Manchester from April 4-7, to the SECC in Glasgow from April11-14 and to the O2 in Dublin from April 25-29. The Spanish word for happiness, joy and jubilation, Alegría features an international cast of 55 performers, singers and musicians from 17 countries in a display of breathtaking acrobatics, interwoven with song and humour. Alegría, alone, has been seen by over 10 million people worldwide since it premiered in Montreal in 1994 – while the full Cirque repertoire has played to almost 100 million people in 300 cities across five continents since its humble beginnings in Quebec in 1984.

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With French Canadian roots, Cirque de Soleil draws on the theatrical traditions of both North America and Europe. And with the collaboration of the finest performers from around the world, Cirque has transformed an old art form, the circus, into a contemporary entertainment – re-imagining many of the traditional circus acts within a new and modern context with elements of street theatre.

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The characters who populate the world of Alegría include kings' fools, minstrels, beggars, old aristocrats, children and, of course, clowns. The two-and-a-half hour spectacle is an international showcase for gravity-defying acrobatics and mesmerising contortions designed to astound and confound audiences of all ages. The thrilling Aerial High Bars features daring aerialists flying to catchers swinging more than 40 feet above the stage. In the rhythmic and highly dangerous Fire-Knife Dance, artists manipulate flaming knives around their bodies, while Power Track showcases a display of synchronized choreography and tumbling on a trampoline system magically concealed under the stage floor. In Russian Bars, artists fly through the air and perform spectacular somersaults and

mid-air turns, landing on bars perched on the sturdy shoulders of catchers. A limited number of tickets for this theatrical spectacular are available for IBOA members at a special discount price. Tickets for the performance in the O2 at 8pm on Friday 27 April will be available for IBOA members at a special price of E50 compared to the normal price of E59.80. As numbers on offer at this price are limited, members will be limited to six tickets per booking. For more information on this first-come-first-served offer, contact the Sports and Social Department at IBOA House by phone at 01-4755908 (from the Republic of Ireland) or 02890-200130 (from Northern Ireland and Great Britain) or through the Union websites: www.iboa.ie/media. eventsdiary.html or www.iboa. org.uk/media.eventsdiary.html.


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Big show for little people

SP RTS S IAL

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E•V•E•N•T

Win two tickets to see the Cirque du Soleil spectacular

Alegría at The O2 in Dublin on Friday, April 27 at 8pm. To enter the draw for two tickets to the show, send your answer to the question below by post to Alegría c/o Spectrum, IBOA The Finance Union, IBOA House, Stephen Street Upper, Dublin 2 or by e-mail to spectrum@iboa.ie marking Alegria in the subject line. The winner will be contacted no later than Friday, April 13.

What does the Spanish word, Alegría, mean? april 2012

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House by phone at 01-4755908 (from the Republic of Ireland) or 02890-200130 (from Northern Ireland and Great Britain) or through the Union websites: www.iboa.ie/media.eventsdiary. html or www.iboa.org.uk/media. eventsdiary. html.

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The line-up includes Barney, Bob the Builder, Angelina Ballerina, Pingu, Thomas the Tank Engine and Fireman Sam. Sunday 1 July at Dublin’s Olympia In a beautifully written and Theatre. cleverly choreographed show, Instead of the normal price The Little Big Club Live in Concert of E18.35 per ticket, IBOA has something for the whole members can buy tickets at a family! special discount price of E12.00 A special 35% discount is each by contacting the Sports available for IBOA members for and Social Department at IBOA tickets for the 2.30pm show on

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The Little Big Club Live in Concert brings together many children’s favourite characters live on stage in a 90-minute stage show.

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GAME TIME

From Jack to Trap

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George Hamilton considers Irish soccer’s special affection for the “Euros”

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This is where we came in. One summer Sunday in Stuttgart, Ray Houghton put the ball in the English net, and Ireland’s first big international adventure was under way. They say the past is a different country. Right now it seems like we’ve all had our visas renewed. Euro 88. Yes, it really is 24 years ago. Another time, another place. The Republic of Ireland’s qualification for football’s second most important tournament marked a sea change. There are so many happy memories of that fortnight in a June of yesteryear, the happiest of them centred on the weekend in Swabia, when Ray Houghton’s early goal secured an unlikely win. There was the afternoon in the sunny office at Stuttgart Police Headquarters where the local commander was giving RTÉ an exclusive interview. (He didn’t speak English, your correspondent had German, so he was happy to talk. BBC and ITV never thought of taking that approach!) He wasn’t concerned about crowd trouble. He just knew deep down the English and the Irish would get along. How right he was. Then, the civic reception for the visiting press hosted by the mayor of Stuttgart, Manfred Rommel, son of Hitler’s wartime General. That the spokesman for the guests should share a surname with a certain British Field Marshal wasn’t lost on the gathering. In his toast

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Bound for glory? Current manager of the Republic of Ireland team, Giovanni Trapattoni in conversation with former manager, Jack Charlton (Photo: INPHO/Lorraine O'Sullivan).

of gratitude, the Sunday Mirror’s chief football writer, Ken Montgomery, revelled in the irony of it. And who could forget the opening line of the breakfast news report filed by the late Vere Wynne-Jones, as the green army, who’d regally celebrated the win long into the night, began to head north for the next game: “This morning, thousands of Irish hangovers are on their way to Hanover.” There, they drew with the Soviet Union, then went west to Gelsenkirchen where a bounce of the ball gave the game to the Dutch and sent Ireland home. Nevertheless, things would never be the same again.

Times have certainly changed. Arnold O’Byrne is no longer using his sponsor’s shilling to extol the virtues of a German car maker. These days, the replica shirts bear the logo of a mobile phone company. Not too many even had a mobile phone back in 1988. Four managers on from Jack Charlton, it’s Giovanni Trapattoni’s Boys in Green on their way to Poland. In the measured way of one who’s no stranger to success, Trapattoni steered his charges carefully towards their goal. It may not always have been a joyous journey, but the end surely justified the means. ⁄

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Ray of sunshine: Ray Houghton celebrates after scoring the match-winning goal against England in Stuttgart in 1988 (Photo: INPHO/Billy Stickland).

Ireland are unbeaten in their last three meetings with Croatia, ditto Italy, against whom the team under Trapattoni has not lost, with a win and two draws from their three outings. Which leaves Spain, the current champions and winners of the World Cup two years ago. A suitable case for pessimism? Rational analysis might suggest as much, and yet there is another side to this particular coin. For one thing, the Republic of Ireland have pulled off a big result in each of the tournaments in which they’ve taken part. They beat England at Euro ’88, drew with them and saw off Romania

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at Italia ’90, then beat the Italians at USA ’94. In the Korea-Japan World Cup ten years ago, they secured qualification for the knock-out phase having salvaged a draw against Germany with the only goal the eventual runners-up were to concede on their six-match journey to the Final against Brazil. Spain may have carried all before them these past four years with the tiki-taka swift short-passing game perfected by Barcelona, but the national team is notoriously shot-shy. They won the Euro 2008 Final 1-0, and their last four matches in the South African World Cup ended on the same scoreline. In fact, in winning the World Cup in 2010, Spain scored only eight times, the lowest ever Finals total by the champion nation. Form suggests Ireland won’t lose to Italy or Croatia, and if they can produce that one big Finals performance against the Spanish, a place in the last eight is theirs for the taking. The sequence of matches, not to mention kick-off times – none of them are in the heat of the late afternoon – is in their favour too. If they manage to beat Croatia in Poznan on June 10, then draws against Spain in Gdansk four days later and Italy back in Poznan on June 18 should be sufficient to see them through. That would extend the adventure into Ukraine with a potential rematch with England the reward. In the three final tournaments that Ireland have reached since Euro ’88, they’ve got out of their group each time. There’s no reason to be pessimistic. Spain will remain favourites. Otherwise, the prediction game is fraught with difficulty. Eight years ago in Lisbon, a 150/1 outsider, a team with an elderly foreign manager earned a draw against Spain in the group stage, then ground out three 1-0 wins and won the European Championship. The manager was the German Otto Rehhagel, then 65, and his team was Greece. Notions of a successful summer for Trapattoni’s Ireland may seem far fetched. But there is that recent history to suggest 100/1 against is a touch on the generous side.

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The prize has been a place in what’s generally acknowledged as being the tournament’s toughest pool, as common parlance has it, the Group of Death (or, as has been noted with tongue firmly in cheek, given the presence of Italy and Spain as well as impoverished Ireland, the Group of Debt!). Common sense would suggest there should be no way the Republic can earn a qualifying place at the expense of one of those two. And with Croatia completing the mix of opponents all from the Top Ten of FIFA’s world rankings, a truncated threematch stay seems the most likely outcome. But is it?

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Across: 1. City in South-East Asia (9) 6. Hurl (5) 9. Spanish friend (5) 10. Universal language (9) 11. Practising (10) 12. Mark of old wound (4) 14. Devotee (7) 15. Set in motion (5,2) 17. Coffee maker (7) 19. Long journey (7) 20. Ballet dress (4) 22. Lacking decorum (10) 25. Evaluation (9) 26. Fear (5) 27. Surpass (5) 28. Breathed in (9)

Down: 1. Ringo (5) 2. One who lives near (9) 3. Terminal global conflagration (10) 4. Supervise (7) 5. Uses up (7) 6. Kind (4) 7. Style of Greek architecture (5) 8. Academic subject (9) 13. One caring for infant (10) 14. Judge (9) 16. Will (9) 18. Loss of memory (7) 19. Cover partly (7) 21. Subject (5) 23. Finished (5) 24. Post (4)

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The winning entry for the prize crossword competition in the last issue was submitted by Loretto O’Connor of Tralee. Co. Kerry

A prize of E50 will be given to the sender of the first correct entry drawn from our post bag on May 1, 2012. Entries should be sent to Crossword, Spectrum, IBOA – The Finance Union, IBOA House, Stephen Street Upper, Dublin 8. A photocopy of the grid is acceptable if you prefer not to cut up the magazine.

Across: 1. Jerusalem; 6. Bible; 9. Navel; 10. Velodrome; 11. Heartbreak; 12. Snag; 14. Quintet; 15. Disdain; 17. Engross; 19. Academy; 20. Ulna; 22. Breakaways; 25. Overboard; 26. India; 27. Sleet; 28. Menagerie. Down: 1. Jonah; 2. Revealing; 3. Salutation; 4. Leveret; 5. Mallard; 6. Bide; 7. Brown; 8. Emergency; 13. Escalating; 14. Querulous; 16. Alexander; 18. Sarcasm; 19. Abandon; 21. Niece; 23. Snare; 24. Abet.

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PRIZE CROSSWORD

A prize of E50 will be awarded to the first entry drawn from our post bag after the closing date.

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Employer...................................

Branch/Dept.............................

10% discount on any mobile phone* or mobile accessory for IBOA members in the Republic of Ireland. *except the Apple i-Phone

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WIN E30

PICTURE BOARD

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Use the first letter of the surnames of each of the celebrities pictured to spell out the name of an international pop star. Answers on a post card, please, with your name, address and e-mail address and IBOA membership number to Picture Board, Spectrum, IBOA House, Stephen Street Upper, Dublin 8. A prize of E30 will be awarded to the sender of the first correct entry drawn from our post bag on May 1, 2012. The winner of the last Picture Board quiz was Paula Doherty of Letterkenny, Co. Donegal. The answer was Higgins.

WIN E30

Name....................................................... Union No: ................................... Address ......................................................................................................... ...................................................................................................................... E-mail Address .............................................................................................. Employer.................................. Branch/Dept...............................................

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warded to the sender of the first correct entry drawn from our post bag on May 1, 2012. All entries should be sent to Sudoku, Spectrum, IBOA – The Finance Union, IBOA House, Stephen Street Upper, Dublin 8. You can submit your entry on a photo copy of the grid – if you would prefer not to cut up the magazine. The winning entry for the Sudoku Challenge in the last issue was submitted by Hilary Lee of Ballymoney, Co. Antrim.

SUDOKU

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ULTRAVIOLET

Cheap but not very cheerful! IKEA’s meatballs stir Belgian restaurateurs into action

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Cheap Swedish meatballs are not everybody’s cup of tea – especially restaurant owners in Belgium who have accused furniture retailer, IKEA, of “price dumping” in its in-store cafeterias – effectively selling at below cost in order to disrupt the market.

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Members of Horeca, the organisation representing Belgium’s hospitality industry, were so angry at being undermined by IKEA’s cut prices that they decided to pay for 200 homeless people to go and eat there. Horeca President, Yvan Roque, told a Swedish newspaper: “With those prices, you have to look at IKEA as a social service. So we acted accordingly. We invited 200 homeless people to dinner at IKEA. We collected them in buses and drove them out there.” Roque added: “After seeing meatballs at E2.50 in IKEA, consumers will treat us traditional restaurants like thieves.”

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Don’t forget your shovel! Two workmen were digging foundations on a building site when suddenly one of them started shouting and jumping about. The other one thought his colleague had hit an underground power cable and was being electrocuted. So, following good health and safety practice, he used a shovel to separate him from the source of the electrical current as quickly as possible. In the event, the first worker wasn’t getting an electric shock – but was simply panicking after a wasp had flown up his trousers. Fortunately he didn’t get stung by the wasp. Unfortunately his colleague hit him so hard with the shovel that he dislocated his shoulder.


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Dumb luck A suspected bank robber in Milwaukee probably wishes he studied the book he had with him when he was arrested by police last month: How To Be A Successful Criminal: The real deal on crime, drugs and easy money. As the suspect was escaping on foot, he ran right in front of two police officers responding to a radio alert about the robbery. After a quick pursuit, the suspect was arrested and searched. None of the bank staff were hurt in the robbery.

A sign of the financial times was revealed recently on Sky Sports of all places – in its telecast of a match between Blackpool and Hull City – two former members of the Premiership, or should I say the Barclays Premiership – named after the international financial giants who currently sponsor the top league. Now cast adrift among the lesser lights of the Championship, these two clubs reflect in their sponsorship arrange-

Taking a punt! And finally, a man recently sent out ten different puns to his friends in the hope that at least one would raise a laugh. Unfortunately no pun in ten did.

Sports Quiz – Results

The Sports Quiz in the last issue of Spectrum provided a stern test of the knowledge of our readers. No-one managed to score a full house. The trick question about Niall Quinn trapped many – though not all of the entrants. He does not chair any English Premier League soccer club. He previously occupied that role at Sunderland and was until recently the Mackems’ international ambassador. The other question that troubled many was the England captain who played Third Division football. The answer was Ian Botham who captained the

England cricket team while playing soccer for Scunthorpe United. The full list of answers is: 1. Thomas Hearns; 2. Padraig Harrington; 3. An ice hockey puck; 4. Rio de Janeiro; 5. Andy Goram; 6. Baseball; 7. Sea The Stars; 8. None; 10. The 1990 World Cup (Italia 90); 11. A Scottish mountain; 12. Tennis; 13. Graeme McDowell; 14. The Oxbridge University Boat Race; 15. A.P. McCoy; 16. George Best; 17. David O’Leary; 18. 36; 19. Japan; 20. Ian Botham. The winner – drawn from those who secured the most correct answers – was Noreen Rutherford from Belfast.

april 2012

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For anyone still labouring under the misconception that the humble baked bean was harvested from the innards of some poor unfortunate beast, we can now confirm conclusively that beans are in fact vegetables! Spotted recently in a supermarket in California (where else?) was this can of Heinz baked beans whose label proudly proclaims: “Vegetarian Beans” – and, just to banish any lingering doubt, adds the decisive assertion: “No Meat.”

ments the cold reality of recession-hit Britain struggling with debt. Blackpool play in shirts emblazoned with the name of their sponsors, payday loan specialists, Wonga.com, while the Tigers from Hull are sponsored by modern-day pawnbrokers, Cash Converters.

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Beanz meanz Signs of greenz! the Times

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with STEPHEN MALONE

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Spectrum April 2012  

Spectrum is produced by IBOA The Finance Union, based in Dublin, Ireland.

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