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SEPTEMBER 2013


SPECTRUM

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september 2013

IBOA THE FINANCE UNION

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In this issue… Loose change • •

5-11

Giving capitalism a bad name – Inside Irish Nationwide

Pillar talk –

Worst may be over for BoI AIB cutting losses as well as staff and branches

• Post chatter –

Recent developments in Ulster, RBS and Danske Bank

• Lifetrials of the Slick and Shameless

– The men and women who end up quids in, no matter what!

• Because they’re worth it! – Poachers turn gamekeepers

Current Accounts • •

The Archbishop of Centerburyt see pages 13-14)

12-17

Banking Crisis Inquiry Why it must not be led by the Oireachtas

Church Militant Archbishop takes on pay-day lenders

• • • • •

Sir Henry banks on integrity A short story by IBOA member, David Lemon

The 2013 Lockout

Bank branches close across the European Union

Household debt falls Roux is new Regulator Banks line up to sell other banks

Discount Window 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.

18-19

• New Group Scheme for IBOA members offers massive savings on branded products and services

Going Concerns: Inside IBOA 20-23 • Getting the most from your IBOA • Pensioner members angry at broken promises • Connect Up with IBOA - Summer Draw • The Fees Freeze • Summer Fun with IBOA Pictures from Fota and Tayto Park

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Bank Notes

Recent Developments in Major Employments • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

All-women bank for India End no women boards – EU Bridge the Gap

34-35

Global campaign on safety

New regime to operate LIBOR UK banks cut jobs worldwide

Life Cover • Skin and groans • Worked to death

september 2013

AIB workers vote on Bank’s future AIB plans to advance restructure of retail network The recommendations from the Labour Court and the independent mediator - in summary FBCs shocked at Bank’s proposal to remove cars Bank of Ireland stalemate on pensions BOI mortgage advice service Use of public image limited Danske Bank: review of head office operations Dansle Works Council meets Ulster Bank: a glitch in time! Ulster Bank branch network under review IBOA challenges ‘normalisation’ in Ulster Bank Claim for pay rise in Ulster Bank IBRC: Wallace in Blunderland IBRC: Cheque it out - liquidator foul up Pay rise likely in HP

Foreign Exchange • • • • •

24-29

SPECTRUM

36-37

Investment bank intern dies in London

• Workplace stress is bad for your physical health

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Interest Only

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30-33

• • • • • •

The Story of the Dublin Lock-out of 1913-1914 Inspired by the Lockout: Art and Literature A Stictch in Time: the 1913 Lockout Tapestry project Lock-out Exhibtion Graphic novel about 1913 Lockout Unfinished business:

where is the right to union representation in the Republic?

Fixed Interest • • • • • • •

38-46

The Doll’s House: New thriller from Louise Phillips Sisters sublime: Webbs wonderful Howard’s Way: Racing movie with real drama About Time Gleeson gets starring role Prize Crossword, Picture Board & Sudoku George Hamilton Stephen Malone


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finding facts Alarming rise in bank complaints

I

rish banks’ responses to complaints from customers has shown no improvement in services for the first half of 2013, according to the Republic’s Financial Services Ombudsman, despite an increase in the number of complaints to almost 4,700 between January and June this year – a rise of 27% on the same period in 2012.

‘Breeding ground for abuse’ Former Irish Nationwide Chief Executive, Michael Fingleton (Photo: Photocall-Ireland).

Investigation highlights major flaws at Irish Nationwide

T

he corporate structure at Irish Nationwide was “hideously flawed” and created a “breeding ground for an abuse of power which occurred”, according to a special investigation which was highlighted in a recent edition of the Sunday Independent newspaper. Last year’s investigation by Scott Dobbie, a former director of the UK Securities and Futures Authority and a senior adviser to Deustche Bank, concluded that there was a “strong indication” that Irish Nationwide’s officers were

Former INBS Chairman, Michael Walsh (Photo: Photocall-Ireland).

allowed to “participate personally in commercial transactions to a degree which was at best commercially improper, and at worst illegal.” Dobbie added that the society’s flawed corporate structure concentrated too much power in the hands of one individual, Michael Fingleton – the Chief Executive. “The concentration and abuse of power must have been obvious to the board — or if not it is a sign of greater incompetence — and one is frankly surprised that anyone mindful of personal reputation did not seek either profound change or resignation,” said Dobbie. The investigation also found that the society’s approach to lending to politicians was “seriously flawed.” Irish Nationwide lent to “politically exposed persons” (politicians and their relatives) without applying “rules or good practice in handling personal and business conflicts,” he said.

The behaviour of Michael Fingleton was “much worse” than anything he had ever witnessed in ten years in regulatory roles.

His report has also highlighted the ineffectual role of the Irish State which allowed Mr Fingleton to engage in reckless behaviour with impunity for many years. “The Financial Regulator, from the documentation I have seen, appears to have understood and delineated the critical INBS issues well before they caused trouble, but equally failed fully to use its powers under the (Building Societies) Act by pursuing these issues, being apparently mollified by bland assurances from the INBS Chairman and CEO.” Mr Dobbie believed that the Financial Regulator, even by the standards of the early 2000s “did not meet standards which might be reasonably expected.” “The activities of the CEO and some of his close colleagues exhibit to my mind malfeasance and a general abuse of trust,” he declared. The behaviour of Mr Fingleton, he said, was “much worse” than anything he had witnessed in ten years as a member of the Enforcement Committee of the Securities and Futures Authority, of the Regulatory Decisions Committee of the Financial Services Authority and of the Jersey Financial Services Commmission.

Ombudsman, Bill Prasifka (above), said that a large number of institutions treat his office as just another complaints department. Adding that the same types of complaints are recurring each year, he said this reflects badly on the industry at a time when it needs to work with its customers. Recent legislative changes mean that the Ombudsman will be able to publish complaint records of individual financial institutions in future reviews.

Post mortem into Co-op deficit

T

he Co-operative Group in the UK is to conduct a major inquiry into how its banking arm ended up with a £1.5bn hole in its balance sheet.

This follows its disastrous takeover of the Britannia Building Society and its failed attempt to acquire over 600 branches from Lloyds Banking Group. Meanwhile the Co-op plans to plug the hole by forcing bond investors to take a hit on their investment.

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pillar talk Worst is over, says BoI

B

ank of Ireland has said the worst is now behind it and it is close to profitability.

Reporting total losses before tax of €504m for the first six months of 2013 – compared to losses of €1.26bn for the same period last year – the Bank said that impairment charges on loans to customers fell by 17% from €941m in June 2012 to €780m at the end of June this year – while its total income in the first half of 2013 rose by 36% to €1.188bn. With provisions for impaired loans falling, growth in mortgage arrears slowing and its deposit base stable, Chief Executive, Richie Boucher, said the Bank was on the mend. “It’s been a hard four years,” he said. “But we now have a normalised bank which has strong momentum towards profitability. We are in the more pleasant place of having the challenges of ordinary businessmen and women.” Underlying operating profits – before impairment provisions – rose to €380m in the first six months of the year, up €343m on the same time last year. “Our expectation continues to be that impairment charges will reduce from the current elevated level, trending over time to a more normalised impairment charge, as the Irish economy recovers,” said Boucher. Average staff numbers at the bank fell to 11,998 at the end of June from 13,429 in June 2012.

Big boost to SME lending

B

ank of Ireland has reported an 18% rise in loan approvals for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) for the first half of 2013 – compared to the same period in 2012. Loans worth €1.9bn were approved during the first half of the year. Director of Business Banking, Mark Cunningham, said the bank is providing almost 50% of all non-property lending to SMEs in Ireland.

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New Ireland is a keeper

B

ank of Ireland has secured EU approval to retain its New Ireland Assurance subsidiary. But under a new restructuring plan agreed with the European Commission, other units will have to be sold instead. As a result, the Bank plans to exit its UK corporate and business banking operations which, it has described as mainly “niche” activities. The move does not affect the Bank of Ireland’s consumer banking businesses in the UK (including its partnership with the Post Office), or its businesses in Northern Ireland.

Disposals

Bank of Ireland Chief Executive Richie Boucher Staff costs fell by €37m to €351m. Bank of Ireland reported an underlying operating profit – before impairment charges – for the first six months of the year of €159m for its Retail Ireland division, while operating profits for Bank of Ireland Life reached €40m in the same period.

Underlying profit for the Retail UK division in the first half of 2013 jumped to €77m compared with €2m for the same period in 2012, while profits at the Corporate and Treasury division rose to €305m for the first half of 2013 compared with €243m in the same period in 2012.

Unsatisfactory BoI and Ulster fall well short among UK banks in customer survey

B

ank of Ireland and Ulster Bank were rated worst of 21 retail banks operating in the UK in a recent customer satisfaction survey, conducted by the consumer magazine, Which?

Bank of Ireland came last in the poll with Ulster Bank second last. For workplace news about Bank of Ireland, see page 26.

The European Commission had originally ordered the Bank to sell New Ireland two years ago as one of a number of operational changes – including job reductions and other business disposals – which were to be implemented in return for receiving State aid. “In the light of various changes in the market circumstances since the 2011 decision,” said the Commission, “Bank of Ireland is no longer required to divest New Ireland Assurance Company. “Such a divestment would negatively affect Bank of Ireland’s capital and capacity to return to profitability and would slow down progress towards long-term viability.”

Bank of Ireland had a consumer satisfaction rating of just 41% – compared to an average rating of 62% for all 21 banks. Unpopular in the UK after recent increases in its tracker interest rates, Bank of Ireland also scored badly on customer service, clarity of statements, frequency of communications and branch availability. Ulster Bank scored a rating of 45% – suffering a backlash for the computer breakdowns last summer and this March. Ulster’s parent, RBS, also fared badly, coming fifth last.


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AIB continues to cut losses

Switch on in September A new system designed to make it easier and quicker for bank customers in the UK to switch their current account from one bank to another is due to launch in September. 33 banks and building societies – accounting for virtually 100% of the current account marketplace – have signed up to the Current Account Switch Guarantee. The free service will ensure that switches will be completed in seven working days – rather than the current norm of between 18 and 30 days. Customers will be able to choose the exact date of the move when all outgoing and incoming payments – such as direct debits and salaries – will be redirected to the new bank account.

(along with jobs and branches)

A

IB made a loss of €758m for the first half of 2013, after provisions for impaired loans – compared with €1,054m for the same period in 2012. Operating profits before provisions for bad loans came to €162m for the first six months of 2013 – compared to a €110m loss for the same period in 2012. Customer deposits rose by €1.2bn in the first half of 2013 while funding from the European Central Bank and the Irish Central Bank fell by 20% to €18bn over the same period.

AIB’s loan-to-deposit ratio is now 106%, which is down from 115% at the end of 2012. This is a marked improvement on the unsustainable loan-to-deposit ratio of just under 180% at the start of the crisis in 2008. Reduced staffing levels Over the twelve months to the end of June, around 2,300 For workplace news about AIB Group, see page XX.

Duffy’s defaulter speculation stirs up media circus

T David Duffy: speculation

he graphic language used by SIPTU President, Jack O’Connor – in response to comments by AIB Group Chief Executive, David Duffy, on the motives of mortgage defaulters – quite predictably generated a great deal of media heat but sadly very little light.

employees left the State-owned Bank – with the result that staff costs fell by 16% on the year. Meanwhile overall operating expenses – including exceptional items – were down by 14% over the same twelve-month period. Aside from cutting costs by reducing staff numbers and closing branches, AIB has also sought to drive revenues by repricing many existing financial products to customers as well as introducing additional charges for other services. After Duffy’s speculation that one in five mortgage defaulters in Ireland were simply refusing to pay – as opposed to being unable to pay – the usually cautious SIPTU President went over the top by comparing the AIB chief with Nazi propagandists. The media in turn castigated O’Connor on his language. This was an unfortunate distraction from the substantive point that David Duffy’s remarks are, as yet, without foundation – since there is no objective data to support them.

Lord Mervyn King

Bank honours its ex-Governor King The Bank of England spent over £26,000 on presents and going away parties for its recently retired Governor, Mervyn King. Lord King received a £10,000 copy of a specially commissioned portrait of himself, along with a £2,500 bust of the German writer, Goethe, and a £600 silver napkin ring. The Bank also spent over £13,000 on retirement parties, including £1,500 on flowers and invitations. The cost of the Bank’s tribute to its former Governor came to light after a freedom of information request from the MSN UK news organisation.

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post chatter Ross is new boss at RBS

U

lster Bank parent, RBS, has confirmed that New Zealander, Ross McEwan, is to succeed current Chief Executive, Stephen Hester, in October.

Ulster Bank Chief Executive Jim Brown (Photo Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland)

Outlook on impaired loans improves at Ulster Bank

L

McEwan’s elevation to the top post in RBS comes less than a year after his appointment as Head of UK Retail in RBS. He joined RBS in 2012 from Commonwealth Bank of Australia where he was Group Executive for Retail Banking for five years. Before that, he was Executive General Manager in charge of its branch network, contact centres and third party mortgage brokers. McEwan had worked in the insurance and investment sectors in both Australia and New Zealand for over 25 years. A Bachelor of Business Studies, McEwan enjoys water skiing, cycling, reading and spending time with his family. He is married with two children.

New RBS Chief Executive, Ross McEwan He had been widely tipped for the impending vacancy at the top of the 81% State-owned banking group after his predecessor Stephen Hester was effectively ousted by the British Government in June. McEwan’s main task will be to complete the restructuring of RBS with a view to facilitating its return to the private sector.

For workplace news about Ulster Bank, see page 28

Good news – bad news for Ulster Bank customers

T

here were mixed blessings for Ulster Bank customers recently. osses at Ulster Bank fell in the first half of 2013 while operating profits Soon after becoming the first major Irish bank to offer foreign before impairments increased. Impairments fell to £503m (€591m) in exchange services to all of its customers free of transaction charges, the first six months of this year, down from £717m in the same period in Ulster Bank announced that it intends to introduce fees on some 2012. Operating losses eased to £329m in the first half of 2013 from £555m in personal current accounts with overdraft facilities. 2012. When impairments are subtracted, Ulster Bank recorded an operating Transaction charge-free foreign exchange services are available through profit of £174m. all electronic channels – including branches with electronic payment facilities The bank also noted that the as well as the Bank’s Anytime and number of customers in mortgage Bankline services. arrears for 90 days or over fell in The removal of forex charges the second quarter compared to the has been welcomed by customers. first three months of the year – the The bank had previously charged first quarter-on-quarter fall since personal customers between €12.70 Ulster Bank’s six-year sponsorship of the GAA’s All-Ireland Gaelic June 2008. to €44.44, depending on the amount Football championships is expected to conclude at the end of this “We continue to see large – while business customers paid year. numbers of customers who are not from €9.52 to €33.33 for the service. engaging with us,” said Ulster Bank The Bank has been one of three co Meanwhile new fees for some Chief Executive, Jim Brown. sponsors of the football championships personal current accounts with “Our core objective remains to since 2008 originally with Vodafone overdraft facilities will apply from keep as many co-operating customers and Toyota and more recently with 16 September – with customers in their homes as possible and we SuperValu and Eircom. incurring a €25 overdraft set-up fee encourage customers in financial If Ulster Bank departs, it will mean and a €25 annual overdraft fee. The difficulty to engage with us to find that, for the first time in 20 years, no bank fees will apply to newly arranged the right solution,” he added. will be involved in sponsoring the senior overdrafts, increases in overdraft “We expect to see an increase county championship. Before Ulster Bank’s in legal activity where the customer tenure, Bank of Ireland was the major limits and accounts that already still does not engage,” he warned. sponsor of the All-Ireland series. have overdraft facilities. Meanwhile AIB looks set to more years – while long-time continue its 22-year-long relationNational League sponsor, Allianz, ship with the All-Ireland Club will continue until 2015 at Championship for at least four least.

Ulster’s farewell to Sam?

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Danske Chief Executive Eivind Kolding,

Danske about to return to profit in Northern Ireland D

anske Bank in Northern Ireland appears to be on the verge of returning to profit this year with its recent loss of £1m for the first half of 2013. This figure compares well with the £25m loss reported for the first half of 2012. While the bank’s main business is operating in profit, it still had to write off a significant amount of bad debt – arising mainly from impaired property loans – with the result that

a pre-tax profit of £27m was reduced to the £1m loss by impairment charges totalling £28m. “The amount of impairment charges – which is bad debt provision – has actually decreased massively,” said the Chief Executive Officer, Gerry Mallon.

For workplace news about Danske Bank, see page 27.

Financial performance significantly improved “Year on year, it’s down by 70%. So things are trending very strongly in the right direction.” “Whilst remaining cautious on the outlook for 2013, the bank is happy to report a significantly improved financial performance for the year to date including a pre-tax profit in the second quarter to the end of June,” said the Bank’s commentary on its results.

Bigger quarterly losses at Danske Ireland

D

anske Bank’s Republic of Ireland operation reported bigger quarterly losses before tax recently as a result of higher impairment charges.

Head of Danske Bank Ireland, Terry Browne

Losses before tax rose to €17.4m for the second quarter of 2013 compared with €8.8m in the first quarter. The bank also reported increased impairment charges of €15.4m for the second quarter of the year compared with €5.5m in the first quarter.

Total income for the three month period came to €15.7m, up from €14.6m in the previous three month period. Head of Danske Bank Ireland, Terry Browne, noted that mortgage arrears at the bank have remained comparatively low at 4.25% – as against an average for the sector of 12.3%. Customer deposits rose by 8% in the second quarter to €3.4bn, while costs were down by 1% compared to the first quarter.

Profits rise at Danske parent Denmark’s biggest bank, Danske Bank – which has two banking operations in Ireland, north and south – has reported a 46% increase in profits in the second quarter of 2013 – its highest in five years – after loan losses fell on improving economic conditions in its main markets. The bank said net income rose to 2.18bn kroner (€292m) beating expectations, after loan losses fell 45% to 924m kroner (€124m). Danske said that quarterly loan losses had now declined to their lowest level since the second quarter of 2008. Danica Pension, Danske’s pension and life insurance unit, reported a loss of 346m kroner (€46m) – its first since the third quarter of 2011. Speaking to reporters after presenting the bank’s earnings, Danske Chief Executive, Eivind Kolding, ruled out talk of a sale of Danica. Danske has not paid a dividend to its shareholders since 2007 – a trend the bank says it will reverse once reserves are big enough. Its Chief Financial Officer, Henrik Ramlau-Hansen, has said that the bank plans to pay a dividend for 2013 if it meets its targeted results.

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lifetrials of the

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september 2013

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slick & shameless European Union and Norway 19 1.1

15 1.5

33 1.5 Lloyd Blankfein, Chief Executive of Goldman Sachs

21 1.4

Lloyd’s blank fine

G

oldman Sachs chief, Lloyd Blankfein is the best-paid bank CEO in North America, according to a recent issue of

If the cap fits… As well as a fixed annual salary of £800,000, Barclays’ new finance director, Tushar Morzaria (above), is also eligible for a bonus of 250% of salary – £2m – as well as annual share awards worth up to 400% of salary – £3.2m – under a long-term incentive plan. Barclays has also said it will provide a further share package to match any deferred or long-term awards he may have lost by leaving his former employer, J. P. Morgan. How all this will square with the new EU cap on banker bonuses remains to be seen. The EU has agreed to limit fixed pay for high earning bankers to €500,000 with their bonuses to be set at 100% of annual fixed pay unless shareholders specifically approve a higher limit of 200%.

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Bloomberg Markets magazine which analysed rewards in the twenty biggest North American banks. Blankfein made $26m last year – a 73% increase on the previous year. However, he is not the “most overpaid” CEO, according to Bloomberg Markets. He was edged out of the top spot by Richard Fairbank of Capital One Financial, who was paid $17.5m last year as head of a bank with a considerably poorer performance. Bloomberg Markets judges how over- or under-paid bank chiefs are by comparing their position on the pay list to their ranking in returns and profitability.

8 1.4

10 1.7

170 1.8

NA NA 10 1.8

162 1.6

NA NA

2 1.8 8 1.5

96 1.6 11 1.6

125 2.4

NA NA

Euro-million(a M

ore bankers in Britain earned annual basic pay of €1m or over in 2011 than in the rest of the European Union combined, according to recent figures from the European Banking Authority (EBA).

Richard Fairbank of Capital One Financial

4 1.5

36 1.5

2436 1.4

A total of 2,436 UK-based bankers exceeded the €1m mark for annual fixed pay. Of these, 1,809 were working in investment banking, 85 in retail banking, 182 in asset management and

360 in other business areas, said the EBA report. Ireland had 21 in total – 14 of whom were working in investment banking with 3 in asset management and none in retail banking. Only 170 bankers based in Germany hit the €1m mark in 2011 compared to 162 in France, 125 in Spain, 96 in Italy, 36 in the Netherlands and only 14 in Sweden. Some countries, such as the Czech Republic and Estonia, had no million


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because they’re worth it! Gamekeepers turned poachers?

3 1.1

T

KEY

hree prominent regulators have recently declared their intentions to “go over to the dark side” by accepting senior positions in two of the UK’s major banks.

Total number of bankers earning €1m and over in 2011

NA NA NA NA

Average total remuneration for “millionaire bankers” in 2011 in millions of euro

NA NA

The Deputy Governor of the Irish Central Bank, Matthew Elderfield, whose principal area of responsibility has been financial regulation, is leaving Dublin in October after three years to return to London as the new Director of Conduct and Compliance at Lloyds Banking Group. Though Halifax’s ill-fated Irish venture was laid to rest as HBOS was being rescued by Lloyds on the orders of the previous British Government, Lloyds has retained

NA NA

NA NA

Sir Hector Sants

Catherine Brown

an interest in Ireland through Bank of Scotland Ireland whose loan book is being worked out through by Certus. While there has been no confirmation of Elderfield’s reward in his new role, he achieved the distinction of being the highest paid employee in the Irish Central Bank on the princely sum of €340,000 a year – earning €127,000 more than his boss – the Governor, Patrick Honohan – who has taken a voluntary pay cut of €63,324. Elderfield will be joined at Lloyds by Catherine Brown, who recently resigned as Executive Director for Human Resources at

the Bank of England to become Lloyds’ Group Strategy Director. Meanwhile Sir Hector Sants, the former Chief Executive of the UK’s recently disbanded banking regulator – the Financial Services Authority – joined Barclays Bank earlier this year as its new Head of Compliance and Government and Regulatory Relations. As if to confirm his complete assimiliation to the ranks of the “poachers,” Sants was recently appointed as one of Barclays’ representatives on the board of British banking’s main sectoral lobbying group – the British Bankers’ Association.

Average pay $117,000 for three months at Goldman

2 2.0 4 1.6

aire)s euro earning bankers, while Poland had only four. The highest paid senior bankers in the EU in 2011 were found in Spain where fixed pay averaged €2.44m. The EBA has made proposals for an annual cap on fixed pay of €500,000 and for annual bonuses to be generally capped at an amount equal to annual fixed pay – or, if shareholders approve, up to twice the amount of fixed pay. The cap will apply to awards for performance in 2014 and onwards.

Matthew Elderfield

Goldman CEO, Lloyd Blankfein

New ‘cheap’ executive officer for RBS New RBS Chief Executive, Ross McEwan, will be paid a salary of £1m a year – a 16.7% cut from the £1.2m paid to his predecessor, Stephen Hester. At the press conference to

announce his appointment, McEwan said he did not want to be considered for an annual bonus for the remainder of 2013

or for 2014 from the mainly State-owned lender. As one of McEwan’s key tasks will be to prepare the bank for a return to the private sector, his self-sacrifice in the short term may be calculated to achieve a bigger reward in the long term.

P

ay at global bank, Goldman Sachs, rose by 27% for the second quarter of this year – which means that each of the company’s 31,700 employees earned an average of $117,000 (£77,200) in the three-month period. The increase followed a doubling of the bank’s second quarter profits compared with the same period last year – with net income rising to $1.93bn (£1.28bn) for the second quarter of 2013 compared to $962m a year earlier. With its share price up nearly 30% since the start of 2013, the Bank allocated $3.7bn in the second quarter for pay – an increase of 27% over the same period in 2012.

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Banking crisis inquiry

Too important to be political football

T

he recent revelations that the Republic’s junior Minister for Small Business, John Perry, had not only got into financial difficulty but had “dropped the names” of Bank of Ireland CEO, Richie Boucher, and AIB CEO, David Duffy, into discussions with Danske Bank about his own personal finances raise a number of issues beyond the obvious concern over the propriety of a Minister making use of contacts made in the course of his public duties in an apparent bid to further his own personal interests.

Firstly it provides a further argument for the need for an independent – as opposed to a Parliamentary – inquiry into the banking crisis. So many politicians come with some pre-existing baggage based on their personal histories with these institutions as to raise questions about their impartiality. When you factor in the general lack of supervision by the political establishment – who were not only responsible for creating a deficient regulatory structure but whose policies also fuelled the property bubble – then an open and thorough investigation becomes even less likely. It is also inconceivable in the present climate of political discourse in the Republic that the players in the Dáil could resist the opportunity to score party political points over their opponents in an Oireachtas-led inquiry. Indeed even before the terms of reference for the inquiry have been finalised, the sparring has begun – because of course, these terms will largely determine the scope and nature of the inquiry, itself. An Oireachtas-led inquiry will undoubtedly generate much heat and some degree of amusement (if you happen to like pantomimes). But, precious little light may be shone on the factors that combined to create the crisis and, more importantly, the lessons to be learnt to prevent a repetition in the future. Perry’s perilous position also underlines why in Ireland the nationalisation of the banking sector – other than as an emergency measure – is likely to be fraught with difficulty because for many politicians the temptation to use the relationship for

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Above: Despite a temporarycessation of hostilities during the Christmas period, the political parties in Dáil Éireann are likely to treat an Oireachtas-led banking inquiry as another chance to try to score points against their rivals. (Photo: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland).

Above: Lord Justice Brian Leveson. IBOA favours a Levesonstyle inquiry into the Irish banking crisis (Photo: PA).

personal gain, however modest, would be irresistible. Perry aside, the recent history of relations between politicians and financial institutions has been fraught with difficulty. The political history of the Republic is littered with examples of State-owned enterprises being exploited for party political gain. Not only was it tolerated: it was expected by the supporters of any party exercising power at local, regional or national level. And of course financial institutions have also engaged directly and personally with politicians in an unseemly fashion – not just “maverick” chief executives like Michael Fingleton (see page 5) – but also pillars of the financial establishment who have been prepared to write off debts owed by politicians – on the basis, no doubt, of some sound commercial reasons but leaving the whiff of suspicion, nevertheless. Perhaps, Irish society is just too closed to establish the necessary arm’s length relationship between individual representatives of the State (like Government Ministers) and the financial institutions they are required to regulate. Another aspect of the recent revelations relates to the issue of fitness and probity. Of course, it is not our place to pre-judge the Minister’s conduct of his financial affairs. Certainly he is not alone in accumulating substantial debts in recent times – and many of his colleagues in Government have rallied to his defence arguing that his actions should not cost him his job either as a Deputy or a Minister. However, it is worth remembering that, as our members know only too well, if a bank worker was in similar financial circumstances to the Minister, she or he would probably be facing an investigation by the employer under Fitness and Probity regulations with the real prospect of losing his/her job. That is not to say that the Minister should automatically lose his job – but rather that more sympathetic consideration should be given to the plight of bank workers – many of whom were actively encouraged by their employer to increase their borrowings during the boom and who now, like the Minister, are facing difficult financial circumstances which certainly would not be resolved if they were to lose their jobs.


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Church Militant Archbishop takes on pay-day lenders B

ritain’s Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, has vowed to put payday lenders out of business by using the Church of England to support the country’s network of credit unions.

In a recent face-to-face meeting with Errol Damelin, the founder and chief executive of Wonga, the Archbishop outlined his ambition to make the controversial lenders redundant – by supporting the UK’s extensive network of around 500 credit unions to play an enhanced role in assisting people experiencing financial difficulties. The Church of England – which already operates a credit union for its own staff – aims to provide advice to other credit unions on extending their presence in local communities. With 16,000 ‘sites’ in 9,000 communities, the Church of England’s own network is larger than that of the main retail banks. So the Archbishop plans to allow credit unions to use Church premises (including its schools) and to encourage members of the Church with the appropriate skills to partcipate in credit unions as volunteers. In a recent interview with Total Politics magazine, the Archbishop said: “I’ve met the head of Wonga and we had a very good conversation and I said to him quite bluntly ‘we’re not in the business of trying to legislate you out of existence, we’re trying to compete you out of existence.’ He’s a businessman, he took that well.”

Above: Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby (Image: London Evening Standard)

The suggestion that further cuts are required in bank workers’ pay is outrageous. Larry Broderick

The Archbishop added: “We’ve got to have credit unions that are both engaged in their communities and much more professional, and the third thing is people have got to know about them. It’s a decade-long process.” However, one of the first steps to be taken by the Archbishop, who is a former oil industry executive and a member of the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards, was to respond to the subsequent revelation that the Church of England was indirectly investing pension funds in Wonga through its holdings in Accel Partners, a US venture capital firm which fundraised for Wonga in 2009. Since the advent of austerity, payday lenders have come under intense scrutiny because of their perceived role in exploiting the serious debt problems being experiencing by so many people. Their massive interest rates, excessivecharges, irresponsible lending and misleading advertising have encouraged many of those who can least afford it to become even more mired in spiralling debt. A recent survey by the UK consumer organisation, Which?, found that 4% of people – equivalent to one million households – in the UK are forced to avail of payday loans every month in order to meet the rising cost of living. Some 38% of those who take out payday loans – equivalent to 400,000 households – use the loans to pay for essentials like food and fuel, while 24% (or 240,000 households) need

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Wonga Chief Executive, Errol Damelin (left) and Dr. Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury (right).

Sentamu to head low pay body W

hile the Archbishop of Canterbury takes on the payday lenders, his clerical colleague, the Anglican Archbishop of York, John Sentamu, is to chair a year-long inquiry into low pay in the UK. In an outspoken article in

a recent issue of the Observer newspaper, the Archbishop described the prevalence of low pay as a “national scandal” – warning that businesses have a moral duty to ensure that all employees receive a living wage. “Women, as the majority of low-paid workers in this country, are hit particularly hard,” he wrote. “Low pay threatens the great strides that have been made in gender equality in recent decades, because it undermines women’s economic independence. This is a huge loss for them and for society as a whole.” Sentamu also condemns successive UK governments for standing by as company bosses have taken huge profits and pay awards for themselves while refusing to reward their employees fairly – arguing that both in terms of both morality and economics it is wrong for government to give tacit approval to an approach that lands the State with a huge outlay to top up the incomes of low earners. “Why don’t those who profit from these workers pay up?” he asked.

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Below: a spoof advertisement for wonga.com

the money to pay off other borrowings. 49% of the people who take out payday loans (equivalent to just under half a million households) report that they can’t cover the cost of repayments – which in some cases attract interest rates of over 5,000% – which results in an ever-spiraling debt problem. The survey also found that 38.5 million adults in Britain, use some form of credit, while 44% of the population are worried about their household level of debt.

Seven in ten of payday loan users regret taking out credit in the past, while 28% said that, while they don’t like being in debt, they saw it as a necessary part of their life. Richard Lloyd of Which?, said: “Payday lending is dogged by poor practice yet people are increasingly turning to this very high cost credit to cover essentials or pay off existing debts. “A clear message has been sent to lenders to clean up their act, but

the regulator must back this up by enforcing proper affordability checks and punishing lenders who flout the rules. We also want more action from the Government to tackle this toxic market.” Another UK consumer rights body, Citizens Advice, found that in 76% of cases it examined, borrowers were found to have grounds to take a complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service – while one in five of these cases possibly involved fraud, with people being chased for loans they never took out. Over a third of the cases saw lenders using a continuous payment authority – a recurring payment mechanism which enables the loan company to drain customers’ bank accounts. Growing concerns about payday lenders targeting vulnerable people forced Britain’s Office of Fair Trading to refer the sector to the Competition Commission earlier this year. Since the Competition Commission’s investigation into the biggest fifty payday lenders began, nineteen have closed down. While this may sound like an impressive hit rate, the Commission concedes that just three companies – Wonga, Cash America (owner of Pounds to Pocket and QuickQuid), and Dollar Financial Corp (owner of The Money Shop and PaydayUK) – account for about 70% of the market by turnover – turnover which has undergone a fourfold rise between 2009-10 and 2011-12. From April next year the Financial Conduct Authority – the new regulator which recently replaced the UK’s Financial Services Authority – will be empowered to impose fines on firms and order compensation to be paid to customers.


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Sir Henry banks on integrity Stephen Gibson was the Head of Sales at Financial Integrity Bank (FIB), having been headhunted from the Big Crumbly Biscuit Company, since none of FIB’s 10,000 employees were deemed up to the job. He had transferred across a year earlier and in the intervening period learned everything there was to know about banking. Now he had been summoned to a meeting with the bank’s autocratic Chief Executive, Sir Henry Platinum. He walked briskly along the corridor towards Sir Henry’s office, the spring in his step aided by the luxurious deep pile carpet and the knowledge that sales were up 45% on the previous year. On reaching the hallowed chamber he paused briefly to take a deep breath before giving the door his customary three knocks. All members of the senior management team were allocated a knocking pattern, commensurate with their standing, and also to ensure that Sir Henry Platinum always knew who was calling. Stephen considered himself lucky – the Head of Risk had to knock to the tune of Two Little Boys. “You asked to see me sir.” Unlike some other financial institutions Sir Henry had no time for pally first names and besides he liked to be reminded often of his stature as a Knight of the Realm. “I’m not talking to you, Gibson,” came the gruff reply.

A short story by IBOA member, David Lemon “But you asked to see me, sir,” stammered Stephen. “Of course, but I’m not talking to you,” explained Sir Henry. “I don’t understand sir.” “I’m talking to you – but I’m not talking to you,” elaborated Sir Henry. “Oh, I see sir. You mean that the meeting that we are about to have never took place,” said Stephen with a proud smile, as the penny finally dropped. “Top of the class, Gibson. Now, down to business. I’m very worried about your performance, Gibson. Sales are only up 45% on last year and your performance affects my bonus. You do know that Lady Platinum has her heart set on Lady Ghislaine?” “I’m sorry to hear that sir. I didn’t know she was that way inclined.” “You are a complete oaf, Gibson. Lady Ghislaine is a yacht in Monaco. And I’m hardly

Any resemblance to any persons – living or dead – is entirely deliberate!

going to be able to buy it if sales are only up by 45%. Should such an unwelcome outcome eventuate, Lady Platinum would make my life hell. You can see my predicament?” “I can indeed, sir,” responded Gibson, who to give him his due, could also see that in such circumstances the hellish life would be reciprocated in his direction. And he was keenly aware of the dangers of being on the wrong side of a vengeful megalomaniac with a penchant for restructuring the business. “And your plan for addressing this problem would be what exactly?,” quizzed Sir Henry, in keeping with his policy of ensuring that his senior managers had to think on their feet while the monkey was being placed on their back. “I’ll crack the whip, sir. Get the folks in the Branch network to go the extra mile,” replied Stephen, failing miserably to shift the monkey. “Branch network? Do we still have one of those, Gibson?” “Well it’s probably more of a twig network now sir,” he joked weakly, “but the staff do work very hard.” Sir Henry, who rarely laughed at someone else’s jokes, rested his elbows on his kidney shaped walnut desk and peered over his platinum rimmed spectacles. “Really?” he enquired, before adding, “I’m sure they all work their socks off. But that’s not

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enough. However, luckily for you I have the solution.” Stephen looked intrigued as Sir Henry went on to explain his idea for a new product for the youth market, the Teenage Funeral Plan. “Basically it’s an insurance policy that provides teenagers with the peace of mind from knowing that the cost of their funerals is covered. “Of course, we’d need to put a caveat on it as they are all going to die sometime and we don’t want to be left with an horrendous bill. “So I was thinking about a forty-year term, that’s pretty generous Gibson, isn’t it?” outlined Sir Henry. “But sir, based on the average life span that would mean that the policies would expire well ahead of the time that most claims would be expected to arise?” queried Stephen. “I know, Brilliant, isn’t it?” said Sir Henry with a beaming smile. “But sir after the mis-selling of endowment mortgages, and PPI, interest rate hedging products and the like, the FSA would be all over us,” countered Stephen, illustrating that he had

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indeed learned everything about banking during his short tenure. “That’s horsemeat, Gibson. I sometimes wonder why I put you in charge of Customer Fleecing Operations. What would the Food Standards Agency want with us, anyway?” replied Sir Henry with some exasperation. “Not that FSA sir. The other FSA – the Financial Services Authority,” explained Gibson. “Are they not wound up, Gibson?” “Well they’re always wound up about stuff like this, sir.” “Not that wound up, Gibson. The other wound up, as in liquidated.” “Oh, I see sir. Yes, of course, you are right but they’re being replaced by the Prudential Regulation Authority, the PRA.” “Next you’ll be telling me we’re going to get the Continuity Regulation Authority or the Real Regulation Authority. Don’t worry about these splinter groups. Just get on with it. Talk to the boys in marketing and get them to develop some fancy wording and then get the legal team to draft the usual get-out clauses in the small print. And make sure you charge plenty for it.

Handling Change A history of IBOA Published by the Collins Press and written by Paul Rouse and Mark Duncan, Handling Change was specially commissioned by the Union. 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. IBOA has a limited number of copies of the book for sale to 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.

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“It’s the sort of thing parents might get their kids for Christmas or birthdays, you know. So just to be clear, what is it you are going to do?” asked Sir Henry, while surreptitiously pressing the record button on his secret tape machine. “Sir, I’m going to develop a funeral plan, aimed at the youth market. It’ll be pretty expensive for customers and the terms and conditions will be such that it is unlikely that we’ll ever have to pay out on a claim,” said Stephen meekly. Sir Henry pressed the stop button on the recorder and said: “Excellent, Gibson. Come back and see me in a week with the full product material, launch plans and suchlike.” After Stephen had left, Sir Henry picked up the phone to call Lady Platinum to tell her of the developments. “Hello darling, great news, I can put the deposit on that little lady in Monaco.” Just then he heard a knock at his door, his ears quickly picking up on the jaunty rhythm of Joe Dolce’s Shaddap You Face. “Afraid I’ve got to go darling. I’ve got the Head of Compliance waiting to see me.”


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key trends

Household debt falls I

rish households are continuing to get out of debt, according to recent figures from Ireland’s Central Bank. Total household debt now stands at €172.3bn (or an average of €37,500 per person) – the lowest level since the end of 2006. The figure reflects a fall of €1.6bn (or 1%) during the first quarter of 2013. The drop is largely attributable to a fall in new loans to householders, while at the same time older loans are gradually being paid off.

2013 Lockout Bank branches continue to close in EU

A

bout 5,500 bank branches (or 2.5% of the total) closed across the European Union last year, according to the European Central Bank – compared with 7,200 branch closures in 2011. Altogether the European Union had 20,000 (or 8%) fewer outlets at the end of 2012 than it had when the financial crisis began in 2008. The severest cuts last year were mainily focused in those member States experiencing the greatest financial difficulties. Greece saw one of the biggest drops in 2012, axing 5.7% of its outlets, as bank mergers resulted in 219 branch closures – a trend that is expected to continue into 2013. Spain cut 1,963 (4.9%) of its branches in 2012 while Ireland’s branch network contracted by 3.3% in 2012 compared to 3.1% in Italy. Contraction was not the order of the day in every European Union State, however. In Britain, the number of branches remained

virtually unchanged at 11,870, according to the ECB – while branch numbers increased in some Eastern European countries including Poland (up 4%), the Czech Republic (up 2.3%) and Lithuania (up 1.8%).

Northern Ireland

The impact of branch closures in Northern Ireland – both in terms of the reduction in facilities for customers and consequent issues about access to financial services has commanded the attention of local politicians as the Assembly’s Finance Committee and Industry Committee recently held the first of a series of joint meetings with local banking executives. Particulr concerns were raised by MLAs at the plight of social welfare recipients who had been required to open bank accounts when local welfare offices closed. In circumstances where a town was now bereft of any banking facilities, the cost of transport to access alternatives facilities could have a particularly severe impact on people on low incomes.

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The blight on the streetscapes of towns and cities in Northern Ireland – caused by the growing number of empty or derelict bank premises – has also exercised the minds of local politicians like Lord Mayor of Belfast, Niall Ó Muilleoir, who has challenged banks around Northern Ireland to come up with radical solutions to deal with empty branches. With many empty bank premises occupying prominent positions in urban centres, the Lord Mayor has called on their owners to come up with some innovative approaches to revive town centres in meetings with Ulster Bank, Danske Bank and First Trust Bank. He has also urged the banks to do more to minimise the impact of any further closures on local shopping hubs. “Banks should take steps to ensure that vacated properties do not lie empty for months or years,” he said, “setting back efforts by Belfast City Council and the new traders’ organisations to revive local retail clusters.”

Cyril Roux

Roux is new regulator T

he Central Bank in the Republic has appointed Cyril Roux, as the country’s new financial regulator from October 1 when Matthew Elderfield takes up a new role for Lloyds Banking Group in London. Roux has been the first Deputy Secretary General of the French prudential supervisory authority for banks and insurance companies (ACPR) since it was created in March 2010. IBOA General Secretary, Larry Broderick, said the Union would “look to meet Mr. Roux at the earliest opportunity.”

Banks to sell banks M

ore than 30 leading banks have been put on standby to advise the UK Government on the return of Lloyds Banking group and Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) to the private sector. JP Morgan Cazenove has been appointed as lead adviser by UK Financial Investments (UKFI), which looks after the State’s 39% stake in Lloyds and its 81% stake in RBS. UKFI has selected 11 banks as possible “bookrunners” (not bookmakers, ed) – who may co-ordinatie aspects of the sale. The 11 are Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Barclays, Citi, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, HSBC, JP Morgan, Morgan Stanley, Nomura and UBS, the Swiss bank which already acts as broker to both RBS and Lloyds.

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making your cash go further Your IBOA subscription is worth a great deal more Taking it to a new level Discounts and savings are always welcome – but most especially in times when money is particularly tight. That’s why IBOA has been exploring ways and means to ensure that your take-home pay can go further by achieving better value. Our IBOAPlus scheme has been a modest attempt in this direction and has produced many worthwhile savings for members. But this month, we are launching a new scheme for members which takes our efforts to a whole new level – both in terms of the savings to be made and the range of products and services available.

The IBOA Group Scheme The IBOA Group Scheme provides special member discounts through an easy-to-use online directory covering hundreds of offers from leading brands and service providers – which you can access from a variety of devices such as desktops, laptops, smartphones and tablets. The range and value of these discounts is so great that you could more than cover the cost of your IBOA membership subscription by the savings you can make! The IBOA Group Scheme is free to IBOA members (including Pensioner Members and Associate Members). So even if your are leaving your employment, it will be worth keeping up your link with the Union – for this benefit alone.

Accessing the IBOA Group Scheme Access to the IBOA Group Scheme is through the My IBOA area of the Union websites – www.iboa.ie and www.iboa.org.uk – to ensure that the benefits are available to members only. But don’t worry registering in the My IBOA area couldn’t be easier. You can now use either your IBOA membership number or your employee (bank/work) number to verify your identity. Then set yourself a password and get ready to make great savings! While you are in the My IBOA area, you can also update your personal details – if you have a change of address or other contact information. You can also set your communication preferences to tell us how you wish to receive news and information from IBOA and to indicate any areas of special interest.

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inside iboa

Getting the most from your IBOA IBOA’s new monthy e-mail bulletin for members will provide updates on recent developments in their own employments as well as news about exclusive special offers on products, services and events. Detailed circulars will normally be reserved for IBOA Reps, Bank District Secretaries and Executive Committee members. But any members who specifically want to , can opt to be notified of the circulars as they are issued. Members can also be notified of any Union activities that are of particiular interest to them – like equality, organising, pensions, health and safety or training opportunities.

Monthly email bulletin Regular website updates Spectrum magazine (by post or online)

Special offers for members on goods and services (see pages 18 and 19 for more)

Members can also indicate how they wish to read Spectrum – either online or in print.

Online information on a range of IBOA services including education and training

Book online for selected events with special prices for IBOA members

Keep your own contact information up-to-date via the website so you never miss out on news

By logging onto the My IBOA area of the Union’s websites – www.iboa.ie and www.iboa.org.uk – members will also be able to indicate how they want messages or alerts from IBOA to be delivered to them – for example, by e-mail, SMS text message or fax.

IBOA members can now use the Union websites to book any make electronic payments for tickets for any of the events where IBOA offers special discounts – such as concerts, pantomimes and other theatrical performances.

STAY CONNECTED WITH IBOA

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Three of the many participants in the Biennial Meeting of the Union’s Pensioners Committee (Photo: Tommy Clancy) Pensioner members (Photo: Tommy Clancy)

Pensioner members angry at banks’ broken promises

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he recent IBOA Pensioner Members’Biennial Meeting was attended by over 80 pensioner members. The principal item on the agenda was the wide-ranging address by IBOA General Secretary, Larry Broderick, which focussed on the challenges being faced by workers in the financial services sector. He not only outlined the specific difficulties facing the staff in each bank – but also highlighted the threats to the pension schemes in each bank, especially Defined Benefit pension schemes. The General Secretary also thanked pensioner members for their support for the various campaigns organised by IBOA and by the Irish Congress of Trade Unions – which included participation in marches and demonstrations

as well as lobbying of political representatives. Following his address, the meeting considered a wide range of issues – including the threat to the pension schemes. Speakers were angry that some banks had reneged on earlier promises to increase pensions and had also withdrawn a number of the benefits which had been promised to retirees. The following members were elected to the Committee for the next two years: Ken Doyle (Chair); Margaret Browne (Honorary Secretary); Hilary Acheson; Cecil Barron; Frank Cannon; Dermot Cassidy; Leonard Coote; Gerry Duignan; Maeve Gannon; Bríd Keelty; Agatha Langan; Máire Lohan; Tom Lydon; John McKenna; Brendan O’Donohue; Ted O’Leary; Fergus Reynolds; Harold Strong and Ursula Tighe.

Outgoing Pensioners’ Committee Secretary, Ken Doyle (left), and Chair Brendan O’Donohue, with Union General Secretary, Larry Broderick, (right) at the Biennial Meeting (Photo: Tommy Clancy).

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inside iboa The Fees Freeze Executive continues to hold Union subscriptions at 2008 levels

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he Union Executive Committee has again decided to waive the annual increase in subscription rates provided for in the Union Constitution.

IBOA summer prize draw The winners of the recent Connect up with IBOA recruitment prize draw were: • Sonia Guiney (Voucher for Marco Pierre White’s worth €150); • Brian Ward (Family weekend stay in Fota Island Hotel); • Heather McKittrick (Voucher for Marco Pierre White’s worth €150); • Linda Southern (Voucher for Captain America's worth €100); • Maeve McManus (2 Tickets for Jimmy Carr comedy night in Dublin); and • Eamonn Vize (2 Tickets for Electric Picnic music festival in Stradbally, Co. Laois). Congratulations to the prize winners and thanks to everyone who made the effort to encourage colleagues to make the connection with IBOA. Keep checking the Union websites for news about another prize draw before the end of 2013!

IBOA FAMILY ZOO DAY 22

“The Union Constitution empowers the Executive Committee to seek subscription rate rises in line with the increase in the Consumer Price Index,” Honorary Finance Officer, Sharon McAuley told Spectrum. “However, since the onset of the banking crisis and the virtual freeze on members’ incomes over the last five years, successive Executive Committees have decided to exercise their discretion to make no changes to the schedule of rates (see below) – which has now been unaltered since April 2008,” she said

IBOA Honorary Finance Officer, Sharon McAuley

SCHEDULE OF UNION SUBSCRIPTIONS Monthly Rates

£

Standard Rate for All Members in Full-Time Employment with more than 25.16 18.45 10 Years’ Membership and for All CBO/SBO/Officer/Assistant Manager/ Manager Grades (Regardless of Length of Membership) Special Discount Rate for All JBO /BAG Customer Service Full Time Grades with less than 10 Years’ Membership

19.68 14.43

Special Discount Rate for All Permanent Part-Time /Job Sharing Choices/ Customer Services Part-Time Grades working 25 hours or less per week

13.11 9.62

Special Discount Rate for Temporary/2 Year Contract Grades with less than 10 Years’ Membership Special Discount Rate for Associate and Pensioner Members Yearly : Half-Yearly:

9.84 7.22 44.73 32.80 22.36 16.40

DUBLIN ZOO Phoenix Park Dublin Saturday September 7 FREE ADMISSION

for two adults and four children or one adult and five children, on production of your IBOA membership card


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GOING CONCERNS

Hundreds of IBOA members and their families availed of the Union’s free Family Zoo Day at Fota Wildlife Park near Cobh in July – while others took advantage of the special discount rate for members to spend a day with Mr. Tayto

Summer FUn with IBOA at Tayto Park near Ashbourne in Co. Meath. More IBOA Family Zoo Days have been set for Dublin Zoo on September 7 and Belfast Zoo on October 5. See the ads in this issue of Spectrum for details about free entry.

Lockout

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AIB plans to advance restructure of retail network

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aib group

A

IB has announced that it intends to restructure the Retail Branch Network by integrating some work currently carried out in branches within Direct Channels.

This programme has been piloted in the Bank’s Dublin North and West area while work on re-aligning roles is currently under way in other areas in preparation for the full roll-out if the pilot proves successful. As no major drawbacks have been evident so far, it appears likely that the Bank will eventually roll it out to all areas. IBOA is in on-going discussions with the Bank about the potential impact of this development on the terms and conditions of staff working in both the Retail Network and in Direct Channels. In the course of these discussions, the Union wants a commitment from the Bank to: • protect the terms and conditions of employees in Branch Banking; • protect all rankings within the Branch network; • negotiate a comprehensive ranking and staffing agreement to cover the three new proposed Branch models; • negotiate a comprehensive agreement on the contractual entitlements of members who transfer into Direct Channels; and • negotiate a comprehensive agreement covering the transfer of Direct Channels staff to the retail network. IBOA Senior Industrial Relations Officer, Billy Barrett, anticipates that the negotiations between IBOA and the Bank’s senior management will be protracted in view of the complex nature of the Bank’s proposals and the need to find an acceptable accommodation which takes account of the differences in the terms and conditions of employment between staff working in the retail network and in Direct Channels.

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AIB Group Head Office (Photo: Photocall Ireland)

AIB workers vote on Bank’s future Proposals from Labour Court and mediator receive majority support in ballot

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BOA members in AIB Group have balloted in favour of key recommendations from the Labour Court and independent mediator, Kevin Foley, covering a range of key issues including pensions, pay, working hours, transfers, redeployment, outsourcing and future engagement.

A decisive majority of IBOA members employed in each of AIB’s three jurisdictions voted to accept the proposals in a ballot which took place over three weeks during July and August. “Our members in AIB have accepted representatives and AIB management. these recommendations on the basis “In light of the recent comments that the commitments contained in the by AIB Chief Executive, David Duffy, proposals are honoured by both AIB that the total package of measures promanagement and the Government,” said vided for in these recommendations will the Union’s General Secretary, Larry satisfy the requirements of the Minister Broderick. for Finance for overall payroll reductions “Even though our members in following the Mercer Report, I trust now AIB have already made considerable that the Government will desist from any sacrifices in recent years, the recommenfurther opportunistic attacks on bank dations from the Labour Court and the workers,” he said. independent mediator make even more “I also hope that the continuing significant demands on our members. sacrifices being made by ordinary bank “However, their recommendations workers in order to address the conalso recognise the contribution of these sequences of the reckless behaviour of workers and confirm that they deserve those senior executives who precipitated to be consulted on future developments the crisis in Irish banking will be rewithin AIB in the form of a structured flected in their treatment by the general engagement between their trade union public and by the media,” he added.


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The AIB recommendations – in summary

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he two sets of recommendations from the Labour Court and the independent mediator, Kevin Foley, had marked the final stage in protracted negotiations between AIB and IBOA which had continued for almost twelve months on a range of measures relating to the restructuring of the bank. If the recommendations had been rejected by either senior management or the Union’s members in AIB, then some form of industrial action would almost certainly have been on the table.

Labour Court proposals

In his recommendation, Labour Court Chairman, Kevin Duffy, acknowledged that many of the proposals would have a negative impact on established and longstanding conditions of employment for staff. However, he said the Court was fully satisfied that the changes being proposed were crucial to ensure the viability of the bank and to protect employment into the future. A key proposal from the Court was that AIB should close its Defined Benefit pension scheme to future accruals by the end of 2013, and replace it with a Defined Contribution scheme, designed jointly by the two teams of pensions experts – advising the Bank and IBOA. In future AIB should contribute between 10% and 18% of salary to Defined Contribution schemes for employees, depending on their age and contribution levels. The Labour Court has also recommended that the standard working week in AIB should be extended by two

hours – in two one-hour increments – increasing to 36 hours from October and to 37 hours from April 2014. On pay, Duffy proposed that AIB should honour the findings of the legal authorities in Northern Ireland and Great Britain on the contractual pay cases sponsored by IBOA. Duffy also recommended that all IBOA members below manager grade in the Republic of Ireland should receive a once-off lump sum payment worth 4% of current salary in recognition of the overall provisions of the recommendation. Future pay will be reviewed annually from January 2014, with negotiations betwen the bank and IBOA set to take account of factors such as the cost of living, the bank’s financial performance and performance management.

Above: IBOA’s Senior Industrial Relations Officer, Billy Barrett.

Mediator’s proposals

FPCs shocked at Bank’s proposal to remove cars

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In his complementary recommendation, independent mediator, Kevin Foley, has proposed that the voluntary job reduction scheme – which has been in operation for over a year – should be extended by a further twelve months until February 2015 on the same terms as agreed in 2012. Foley has also proposed procedures to cover staff transfers as well as the redeployment of staff to alternative roles. The mediator added that any outsourcing proposals should be discussed with IBOA and affected staff, in line with existing collective agreements. Foley also recommended that IBOA should continue to be recognised as the sole negotiating body for clerical and management staff in AIB.

inancial Planning Consultants (FPCs) in AIB are shocked and dismayed at the Bank’s proposals to remove their “functional” cars with effect from mid-December.

Kevin Duffy, Chair of the Republic’s Labour Court (far left) and mediator, Kevin Foley (left).

At a meeting last month, attended by almost all of the Union’s FPC members from around the country, IBOA representatives received a clear mandate to reject the Bank’s proposals and to conduct an indicative ballot to establish whether affected members would be prepared to take industrial action if the Bank attempts to implement the proposal unilaterally without full consultation with IBOA. The Bank’s review of the allocation of cars to Financial Planning Consultants was part of the larger review of pay and benefits review announced by Chief Executive, David Duffy, in 2012. The Bank does not intend to compensate the FPCs for the loss of this contractual entitlement. IBOA has sought immediate talks with the Bank in line with the principles of engagement principles set out in the recent recommendation from the independent mediator – which has just been accepted by the Union’s members and by AIB management. The Union is also referring the matter to the Rights Commissioner service under the Payment of Wages Act – since the provision of the car is a contractual issue.

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IBOA THE FINANCE UNION

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bank of ireland group Stalemate on pensions referred to conciliation

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fter extensive negotiations between IBOA and senior management on the review of pensions in Bank of Ireland, a mutually acceptable solution has eluded the negotiating teams – even with the best efforts of independent mediator, Martin King. Following the stalemate, both sides reviewed their positions and then agreed to refer the issue to the Labour Relations Commission for conciliation. At an initial hearing at the Commission last month, each side outlined its respective position before the hearing was adjourned – with September 5 set as the date to resume efforts to reach a resolution of the matter. Senior Industrial Relations Officer, Gerry Hanna, told Spectrum that, after the protracted talks that had already taken place, it would not be easy for the Labour Relations Commission to find common ground.

Labour Relations Commission faces difficult task to find common ground.

Mortgage advice service

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BOA has raised concerns with Bank of Ireland management about a recent advertising campaign in some regional newspapers about the bank’s Mortgage Advice Anytime Anywhere service. In discussions with the Union, be handled centrally. The service is to be management confirmed that all apmanaged through Direct Sales mobile pointments for roles in this service mortgage managers as applies in the exwould be on a voluntary basis and would isting branch network. IBOA was surprised that prior discussions did not take place with the Union about these appointments – especially in view of the EU Commission’s recent decision that Bank of Ireland is to withdraw from the intermediary market. The Bank has now agreed to enter into detailed discussions with IBOA on the proposed role.

SPECSAPPEAL FORIBOAMEMBERS €30 off glasses from the €149 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

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Use of public image limited Following representations from IBOA over staff concerns about the use of individual photographs in promotional material, Bank of Ireland management has confirmed that, if staff members are uncomfortable with their images appearing in advertising campaigns for the bank, they should notify local management or their Regional Office so that the photographs can be withdrawn.


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danske bank group Danske Works Council meets in Copenhagen

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Review of head office operations continues

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IBOA’s Danske Bank Officer, Eileen Gorman

positive and constructive meeting took place recently between senior management in Danske Bank and IBOA as part of the on-going review of Head Office operations. Following presentations by the Relations Officer, Gerry Hanna, said heads of business in each of the that the restructuring of Head Office Head Office areas, the Bank execu- operations would have significant tives re-affirmed their commitment implications for staff. to honour all existing agreements “As well as providing appropriate with IBOA which provides that terms for any staff who opt to depart, any job reductions arising from the the Bank also needs to ensure that the restructuring of the business will staff who remain receive all the be completed on a voluntary basis support necessary to affect the following engagement with IBOA. change,” he said. While welcoming the Bank’s IBOA will continue to engage ongoing commitment to honour the with management in this review on agreement, IBOA Senior Industrial this basis, he added.

anske Bank’s European Works Council met in Copenhagen last month to consider a number of ongoing developments including the roll-out of the Bank’s ‘New Standards’ operating model. This model involves much greater use of technology in maintaining relationships with customers and includes Danske’s ‘Think Simple’ and ‘Project Lean’ initiatives.

The Works Council – which includes 23 employee representatives from twelve countries – also considered the Bank’s forthcoming Employee Opinion Survey. Danske’s Irish employees were represented at the meeting by IBOA Executive Committee members, Eileen Gorman, Moya Cotton and Chris Cavanagh. IBOA’s Danske Bank Group Officer, Eileen Gorman, said: “IBOA values the opportunity presented by European Works Council meetings to engage with senior management within the Group and to share information with other staff representatives and learn from each other’s experiences.”

Be a Member Organiser for IBOA! Building the Union by improving participation and recruiting more members is vital to increase IBOA’s bargaining power with individual employers and with governments and regulators. As part of our new organising strategy IBOA is seeking members who are committed to this approach to volunteer to become Member Organisers in their area. Our volunteer Member Organisers will receive training and support from the Union’s new Organising Unit to enable them to: • profile their workplace; • engage with members and non-members; and • ultimately build the Union’s strength in their area. They will also be able to participate in the Member Organisers’ incentive scheme – which will recognise their efforts in tangible ways. Not only is this a great development opportunity for individual members who wish to become more involved in the Union – but it will also assist the Union to meet the many challenges facing members in general.

If you want to know more, please contact our Lead Organiser, Gareth Murphy in IBOA House or by e-mailing gareth.murphy@iboa.ie

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IBOA THE FINANCE UNION

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ulster bank group A glitch in time T

IBOA challenges ‘normalisation’ in Ulster Bank

Last summer the meltdown of the Bank’s IT system caused great distress to customers and staff. This summer, an ‘eager beaver’ in RBS managed to post a slide presentation by Ulster Bank Chief, Jim Brown, on the internet a couple of hours before it was actually delivered to an RBS investors briefing in London. The publication of the bullet points without Brown’s spoken commentary resulted in a major media storm as the international financial press reported news of further massive job cuts and more branch closures for Ulster Bank. In fact, Brown’s bullet point figures had been inflated by the inclusion of job reductions which had already been announced and largely implemented as well as branch closures already completed. So although the presentation was as much about the recent past as it was about the immediate future, it took over six hours before an explanation was forthcoming from the bank. Meanwhile Ulster Bank customers and staff had suffered more anxiety about the future – with further damage to the bank’s reputation prompting an apology from Chief Executive, Jim Brown.

IBOA has challenged Ulster Bank’s attempt to ‘normalise’ some elements of remuneration into basic pay when staff are promoted – thus reducing the benefit of the promotional increase. This issue has arisen in the context of the bank’s restructuring programme which has resulted in a number of members being promoted. The bank has decided that some of the benefits already enjoyed by these staff before their promotion – such as Dublin Allowance and Car Allowance – should be offset against the pay rise due for taking on additional responsibilities. So the value of the promotion increase has been reduced for a number of staff. As local discussions between the parties could not resolve the matter, it has been referred to an independent mediator, Liam Doherty, for his consideration. “Given the significant differences between the parties on this matter, Mr. Doherty will have a difficult task,” said Senior Industrial Relations Officer, Billy Barrett. “The Union’s Ulster Bank Executive Committee will await the outcome of the mediator’s efforts before deciding on the next steps to be taken.”

he curse of the technological glitch struck Ulster Bank this summer – and again apparently at the hands of its RBS parent.

IBOA’s Ulster Bank Executive Committee with General Secretary, Larry Broderick at the Bank’s George’s Quay headquarters.

Branch network under review A review of Ulster Bank’s retail networks in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland which is currently under way – is expected to conclude by the end of November. Chief Executive, Jim Brown, has confirmed it will engage with IBOA on the outcome review and, if further branch closures are proposed for 2014, then the Union will be consulted in line with existing agreements. Mr Brown also advised that the Bank is looking at alternative channels such as kiosks, ATMs and other units – all of which will be discussed with IBOA before any change is implemented.

Property Review Ulster Bank Chief Executive, Jim Brown, has advised IBOA that the bank is conducting a further review of its property portfolio. Plans are being developed to relocate staff in GRG from George’s Quay, Dublin to College Green and Blackrock; while taff working in Mortgage Operations in Sandyford are to transfer to George’s Quay, Dublin. The bank will engage fully with IBOA on these proposed moves in line with the Relationship principles between the parties.

IBOA FAMILY ZOO DAY

BELFAST ZOO

Saturday October 5

Claim for pay rise lodged in Ulster Bank

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BOA has lodged a comprehensive claim for a pay increase for its members in Ulster Bank for 2012/13 – based on cost savings arising from the Bank’s restructuring programme as well as market movements and increases in the Consumer Price Index. Management has rejected any increase on the grounds of the bank’s current financial position – adding that pay in Ulster Bank is in line with current market levels. The issue has now been referred an independent mediator for consideration in line with the Relationship Agreement between IBOA and the bank. The Union will ballot its members in Ulster Bank on the outcome of the process.

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Free admission for two adults and four children or one adult and five children, on production of IBOA membership card


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ibrc Cheque it out – liquidator foul-up To err is human – but to make a total mess requires technology

Wallace in Blunderland IBRC liquidation becomes ever more surreal as company re-hires former staff

Above: The statue of Queen Maeve outside the IBRC head office at Connaught House Dublin (Photo: Photocall Ireland).

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BRC workers – some of whom face compulsory severance later this month with only statutory redundancy entitlements available to them after the company was legislated into “special liquidation” by the Oireachtas – have been shocked to discover that the Special Liquidator, Kieran Wallace of KPMG, is re-hiring some of their former colleagues who left IBRC before it was liquidated. way in which this liquidation process is The returning staff – who had rebeing conducted. And while we know ceived the previously agreed voluntary that the Special Liquidator, Kieran redundancy terms – will now be working Wallace, has been handed a poisoned alongside current staff whose ongoing chalice to some degree by an Oireachtas loyalty to IBRC is to be rewarded by decision that owes more to political exstatutory entitlements only. pediency than either commercial or legal “If you had wanted to taunt the considerations, nevertheless he must remaining staff with the injustice of their surely have anticipated how staff would current situation, you could hardly have feel as long as the issue of redundancy come up with a better way,” said IBOA compensation remains unresolved.” Lead Organiser, Gareth Murphy. Following this latest revelation, “We hold no grudges against those IBOA members in IBRC are renewing staff who left IBRC on the previously their efforts to lobby politicians from agreed terms which had been approved all parties in the Oireachtas to press for by the Department of Finance. The the appointment of an independent remaining workers simply want to be mediator in a bid to achieve an accepttreated in the same way. able resolution of the issue of severance “Our members in IBRC are even compensation. more angry and disillusioned about the

IBOA Lead Organiser, Gareth Murphy

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he Data Protection Commissioner has been asked by IBOA to investigate a serious error by the Special Liquidator handling the accelerated wind-down of IBRC after staff due to receive minimum notice cheques were issued with cheques intended for their colleagues along with documents outlining their colleagues’ personal data. It seems that in sorting the employee database, the Special Liquidator’s office managed to mix up names, addresses and other details so that the cheques and the accompanying payment details were distributed incorrectly. IBOA Lead Organiser, Gareth Murphy, said that: “IBRC staff have gone through a lot in recent months. Their concerns were clearly an afterthought when the Oireachtas decided to liquidate the company. And even though many politicians have since expressed regret at the way the staff have been treated, we are still awaiting a practical remedy. “But this latest episode highlights a further appalling lack of consideration towards these workers – who have been put through further distress by having their cheques and other personal data transmitted in such a careless fashion. “These workers are entitled to be treated with respect,” he said.

Pay rise likely in HP A Screenclick is Ireland’s leading online DVD and Blu-ray rental service. You simply sign up and select the movies you want to see and we post them to your home. As soon as you are finished you return in the FREEPOST envelope provided and we send the next title from your list. It is far cheaper than renting from the high street with all the latest new releases. There are no late fees and over 15,000 titles to choose from. A special 10% discount is available for IBOA members – for more information check out the My IBOA area of the Union websites

s we go to print, pay discussions have begun between IBOA and HP management for the current year. It is expected that a proposal for a pay increase will emerge from these talks – which will then be put to the Union’s members in HP for decision by ballot. A number of outstanding issues relating to overtime and annual leave have also been resolved following constructive engagement between IBOA’s workplace committee and HP management in recent months. IBOA represent HP employees working on contracts involving data processing for major financial institutions – as well as technical staff providing a variety of technological supports for businesses in the financial sector.

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dublin lock-out In Dublin City in 1913 The boss was rich and the poor were slaves, The women working and the children hungry, Then on came Larkin like a mighty wave. Dublin 1913

In 1913 Dublin lacked a real industrial base and work was generally of a casual nature with poor union organisation and slave wages. A third of the city’s teeming population inhabited the centre city tenement slums. The overcrowding, squalor and inadequate sanitation, combined with poor diet, gave Dublin one of the highest infant death rates in Europe. High levels of violence and prostitution offered further evidence of the demoralised state of many of the population. It was in many ways an unlikely seed-bed for trade unionism. The social system was typified by insecurity of employment, personal daily struggles for survival and the frequent indifference of the longer established – but conservative – craft trade unions. The New Unionism – marked by its organisation of the unskilled and socialist zeal – had briefly flourished in Dublin in the 1890s. But the odds were heavily stacked against permanent success: many union organisations had become moribund.

Big Jim

With James Larkin’s arrival in Ireland as Organiser for the Liverpool-based National Union of Dock Labourers (NUDL), the waterfront workers rose again, firstly in Belfast in 1907 and subsequently in other Irish ports. Disagreement with the NUDL’s Executive Committee led to Larkin’s suspension and the launch in 1909 of a Dublin-based union for unskilled workers – the Irish Transport and General Workers’ Union. From the beginning the new union enunciated in its rule book a wide programme of industrial and political agitation to change society in the interests of the Irish working class. But the employers would not be silent observers.

The Bosses Organise

Under the calculating leadership of William Martin Murphy, owner of the Irish Independent and controller of the Dublin Tramways Company, over 400

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Above: Big Jim Larkin, founder and leader of the Irish Transport and General Workers’ Union in 1913. Right: A sketch by artist, William Orpen, of the soup kitchen which operated in Liberty Hall during the Lock-out. Top centre: Bloody Sunday, August 31, 1913: members of the Dublin Metropolitan Police baton charge workers who had gathered in Sackville (now O’Connell) Street in the hope of hearing Larkin speak.

employers organised themsleves in the Dublin Employers’ Federation to deny the equivalent right to organise to the Dublin’s underprivileged workers. The employers’ aim was to remove the threat of the ITGWU and its message of discontent so marvelously articulated by Larkin’s street oratory. The crunch came on August 15, 1913 when Murphy offered the workers in the Independent’s dispatch department the stark choice of Union or job. When their loyalty to the Union resulted in dismissal, prompt solidarity action saw the dispute escalate with further dismissals in Eason’s and on the trams. The now confident employers issued the infamous ‘document’, locking out any worker that refused to sign a pledge to disown the ITGWU. By the end of September over 20,000 were locked out.

Bloody Sunday

On Sunday, 31 August, the police attacked a crowd gathered to hear Larkin address them in O’Connell Street. The meeting had been banned by the authorities. When scores of people – including many passers-by – were injured in the baton charge, British public opinion was shocked at the scenes. As a result of injuries received in the baton charge as well as subsequent violence against union supporters, three workers – James Nolan, James Byrne and Alice Brady – made the ultimate sacrifice with their lives and became known as the ‘Lockout Martyrs.’ As the situation in Dublin deteriorated, questions were raised in the House of Commons and the issue was debated at the British Trades Union Congress. Support was soon forthoming. But Larkin’s ‘Fiery Cross’ crusade in Britain –


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1913-14

Above: William Martin Murphy, leader of the Dublin Employers’ Federation. Left: James Connolly, Organiser of the Irish Transport and General Workers’ Union during the Lockout and subsequently its Acting General Secretary. where he preached the ‘Divine Mission of Discontent’ in order to highlight the plight of the workers of Dublin – generated rank-and-file, rather than official, reaction. Assistance was limited to food and material support rather than sympathetic industrial action. With James Connolly co-ordinating industrial matters at home, the port of Dublin was shut as ‘tight as a drum.’ Both sides settled for a long attritional war through the winter with the bosses relying on starvation and the workers on the simple message of ‘each for all and all for each.’

To the Bitter End

The British TUC’s Dublin Food Fund and other support marshalled by the Dublin Trades Council sustained the workers and there can have been few occasions as emotive as the landing of the food ships’ precious cargo on the quays.

The workers also began to defend themselves through the formation of the Irish Citizen Army. Many leading intellectuals and middle-class sympathisers rallied to the workers’ side – shocked at the awful conditions and horrified at the pig-headedness of the employers. The Catholic Church was less sympathetic. Its hostile recation to the suggestion that some of Dublin’s starving youngsters should go to the ‘godless’ homes of English sympathisers for the duration of the dispute led Connolly to wonder why souls were of greater concern than bellies. In the face of uneven odds the Lock-Out began to crumble in January 1914 as members of the Building Labourers’ Union returned to work – as many others were to do – without signing the offending document.

Bottom centre: The crowd at Dublin docks awaiting the arrival of the S.S. Hare – laden with food for the locked out workers sent by the British Trades Union Congress.

Some stuck it out until May, but in the end the employers could claim a kind of victory as resistance collapsed and other workers signed the document in order to feed their families. Nevertheless the employers lacked the strength to enforce their victory, and the ITGWU survived. In defeat, the ITGWU had gained many adherents and, more significantly, had laid the foundations that led Connolly to conclude: From the effects of this drawn battle both sides are still bearing heavy scars. How deep those scars are, none will ever reveal. But the working class has lost none of its aggressiveness, none of its confidence, none of the hope in the ultimate triumph. No traitor amongst the ranks of that class has permanently gained, even materially, by his or her treachery. The flag of the Irish Transport and General Workers’ Union still flies proudly in the van of the Irish working class, and that working class still marches proudly and defiantly at the head of the gathering hosts who stand for a regenerated nation, resting upon a people industrially free.

The Legacy of 1913

1913 was, in fact, a victory drawn from the jaws of defeat. The trade union and labour movement was soon to become an essential and important part of the new southern Irish State. But the battle was not won in 1913, and progress since has been uneven. In terms of a social audit of Ireland today as compared to 1913 can we really claim to be in credit? Certainly extreme poverty has gone but things are relative to the times. We still have acute housing problems, attacks on hard-won health, education and social services and new problems of urban decay, drug abuse, vandalism and crime in the alienation of our youth. Regrettably there is now a gathering attack on trade unionism and the essential collective value that it represents and to which the whole of Irish society owes many of its freedoms. The new’ documents’ are the beliefs in austerity, privatisation, deregulation, public spending cuts and increasing appeals to individualism. Trade union values are being dismissed as ‘old-fashioned’ or ‘belonging to the nineteenth century’ but in fact they were never more necessary if we are to win control of our destinies and management of our own economic, social and political affairs.

by Francis Devine 31


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dublin lock-out 1913-1914 Inspired by the Lockout

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dramatic event like the 1913 Lockout has inspired creative artists in many artforms.

A number of theatrical productions have emerged over the years in which the events of the Lockout are central. Seán O’Casey was a member of both the Irish Transport and General Workers Union and the Irish Citizen Army – the militia set up during the Lock-out to protect the locked out workers. Other contemporary artists like writer George Russell (AE) and painter, William Orpen, produced work based on the Lockout. Following in the wake of his play, The Risen People, James Plunkett’s epic novel, Strumpet City, became a very successful television mini-series with Peter O’Toole as Big Jim Larkin – which RTE is seeking permission to broadcast again before the end of the year. More recently, the Lockout Tapestry project has engaged many men, women and young people in a unique collaboration to produce a substantial piece of art – which, it is hoped, will not only commemorate the Lock-out but also raise questions about the Lock-out’s resonance for today (see A Stitch in Time). Another current work that has the events of 1913 as its backdrop is After the Lockout, a novel by Armagh-born Darran McCann. The story follows a Lockout veteran who is released from internment in Wales in 1917 and returns home to Co Armagh.

A stitch in time

The 1913 Lockout Tapestry project Pictured above is the design for the Lockout Tapestry’s central panel which was designed by leading Irish artist, Robert Ballagh.

A useful source of information on upcoming events to commemorate the 1913 Lockout, is the website, www.1913lockout. ie

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he 1913 Lockout Tapestry is an ambitious collaborative visual arts project – on a large scale – to commemorate the 1913 Lock-out.

The Tapestry consists of 32 embroidered cloth panels laid out in a ‘comic book’ style – each measuring 60cm x 76 cm (2ft x 2ft 6”). The work on each panel has been undertaken by a diverse range of societies, groups and individuals – including the Finglas Arts Squad, St. Louis High School Rathmines, Limerick and Mountjoy Prison Groups, Abbey Theatre Group, the Irish Patchwork Society. the Central Remedial Clinic and the Irish Guild of Embroiderers. The design of the tapestry is the work of painters, Cathy Henderson and Robert Ballagh - who were commissioned by SIPTU and the National College of Art and Design in Dublin to provide the artistic inspiration.

Work began on the tapestry last year – with Tara House in Dublin’s Tara Street one of the main production centres for the 100 or more volunteers who have contributed to the project. The landlord of the Tara Street premises is the State transport company, CIE, which, of course, is the modern day descendant of the Dublin United Tramway Company – where the attempt to break the Irish Transport and General Workers’ Union began. The tapestrty is close to completion as we go to press. When it is completed it will be unveiled by President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins, at Liberty Hall – the headquarters of SIPTU. It will then be available to go on tour with a view to having it on display as much as possible.


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Larkin (in disguise) is arrested by the Dublin Metropolitan Police after addressing Union supporters from the balcony of the Imperial Hotel (now Clery’s in O’Connell Street).

Lockout exhibition A special Dublin Lockout Exhibition – which is running at the National Library in Dublin until March – features images, films and memorabilia as well as an interactive touchscreen display. Among the items on display in the exhibition are Big Jim Larkin’s note to his ITGWU colleagues written – shortly before his anticipated arrest by the Dublin Metropolitan Police – urging that “all must work together.”

Photo: Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland.

Unfinished business Still no legal right to union representation

Graphic treatment of 1913 Lockout One of the more unusual publications – inspired by the 1913 Lockout – is a graphic novel (comic for adults) entitled 1913 Larkin’s Labour War, written and drawn by Gerry Hunt and published by the O’Brien Press in Dublin. While Hunt’s narrative includes the key historical figures of the period, it also tries to convey how these major events affected ordinary people at the time.

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s we approach the centenary of the Dublin Lockout – arguably the single most important event in Irish trade union history – it is appropriate that we should reflect on the, as yet, unfinished business of that titanic struggle which shook the city of Dublin from August 26, 1913 until January 18, 1914 and has continued to reverberate down the decades.

And, of course, in the spirit of self-respect and activism sparked by this age of possibilities, bank officials also began to organise in 1917 – leading to the creation of IBOA in March 1918. While we can admire the tremendous energy and determination – not just of the union leaders but also of the many hundreds of thousands of ordinary workers who asserted the demand for justice and respect during that period, it is disappointing that a hundred years later the right of workers to be organised and represented by a trade union has yet to be established unequivocally. Even though the Irish Constitution guarantees a worker’s right to be a member of a union, it does not include the accompanying right to be represented by it.

by Larry Broderick, General Secretary The Irish Constitution treats a trade union as if it was a passive structure devoid of any specific purpose – when, in fact, the raison d’être for any trade union is to represent the interests of its members in dealing with employers and any other relevant agencies. Effectively Irish law pays lip service to the concept of trade union recognition and workers’ rights. The centenary of the Lockout is being celebrated with much pageantry – and the story of the heroism of the men and women of 1913 is a story worth telling. But the centenary should be more than a historical curiosity or entertainment – no matter how well presented. It should inspire our movement – and especially those in the legislature who claim to share our values – to secure the passage of legislation to complete this most glaring piece of unfinished business from 1913 by giving real effect to the right of workers not only to join a trade union but also to be represented by it.

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FOREIGN EXCHANGE

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worldview

All-women bank for India New institution set to open by year’s end

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he Indian Government has approved a proposal to set up a State-owned women’s bank with an initial complement of 125 mainly female bank officials.

One of the key objectives of the new Bank is to focus on the banking needs of women and to promote economic empowerment. The initial funding of 10bn rupees (€121m) has been allocated to the Bharatiya Mahila Bank to provide financial support for women in general; businesses run by women; and for women’s self-help groups in particular. The bank will be headquartered in New Delhi and should begin operations by November with 6 branches, one each in North, South, East, West, Central and North East parts of India. It aims to open 25 branches by the end of March, 2014. It is expected to become profitable by 2019 – at which point it should have a network of 100 branches. The initial complement of about 125 officials will be drawn from other public sector banks in India.

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Vijayalakshmi Iyer, the Bank of India’s Chairperson and Managing Director

The pledge to create the new bank was made by India’s Finance Minister in his Budget speech this February. In March, he established a committee of banking experts to draw up a blueprint for the bank – which reported back last month. In response to the Government’s initiative, the Bank of India last month announced plans to open a total of 50 all-women branches.

At the opening of its first all-women branch, the Bank’s Chairperson and Managing Director, Vijayalakshmi Iyer, said that the idea behind these branches “is to put women at ease and encourage them to transact with the bank.” “These branches will function like all other branches, but with more emphasis on financing schemes beneficial to women and encouraging entrepreneurship among them,” she added.

End no-women boards – EU

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ritish banks will be legally obliged to introduce quotas setting out the number of women they will have on their boards from next year, under new rules planned by the European Union. The regulations will require major financial institutions to establish figures for females in senior leadership roles, as part of a wider package of proposals designed to prevent banks failing. The provisions will not set the level of the targets. But institutions will be obliged to publish a policy relating to how the targets they set themselves for women in senior roles will be achieved and potentially report on progress. The gender targets will only apply to larger institutions. But all financial firms regulated by the British authorities will be required to publish a policy setting out how they propose to promote diversity in the boardroom.


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New regime to operate LIBOR F

ollowing recent global scandals over the manipulation of the London InterBank Offered Rate (LIBOR), NYSE Euronext will take over the operation of the rate in early 2014 from the British Bankers’ Association which has administered LIBOR since the 1980s.

Bridge the Gap

LIBOR is used to benchmark around $500 trillion worldwide in contracts ranging from complex derivatives to credit card bills. Because the rate has traditionally been calculated on the basis of voluntary reporting by banks, it can be manipulated without great difficulty. Three international banking groups – UBS, Barclays and Royal Bank of Scotland – have so far been fined a total of $2.6bn by regulators in the US and Britain for manipulating the rate while several other institutions and individuals are under investigation. While NYSE Euronext is likely to continue to calculate LIBOR in the traditional way initially, it is expected to develop new methodology more closely based on real transactions – rather than on “best estimates.”

Campaign urges clothes firm to sign safety accord

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ore than a million people have already signed an online petition calling on Gap to stop stonewalling and join a number of other major global retailers in backing the Accord on Fire and Safety in Bangladesh – which was agreed following the horrendous Rana Plaza factory collapse in Dhaka which claimed at least 1,100 lives.

Instead of signing up to the accord, Gap has joined with Walmart – whose British interests include the Asda super- market chain – in backing another toothless corporate auditing programme for Bangladesh factory safety. UNI and industriALL – the two global union federations that have led the campaign to improve safety in Bangladesh before and after the Rana Plaza tragedy – have warned that the two companies are only repeating the mistakes of the past. The Walmart/Gap initiative falls considerably short of the standards set by the binding Accord. The Accord is an enforceable building safety programme backed by more than seventy global brands from 15 countries. In contrast, the Walmart/Gap initiative is unclear on enforceability and there is no

commitment from the brands to stay in Bangladesh, nor is there full transparency. IndustriALL Global Union, General Secretary, Jyrki Raina said, “The Accord on Fire and Building Safety signed between global unions, more than 80 global fashion brands, and NGOs provides assurance through a legally binding process that the commitments to inspect and improve garment factories will be carried out. “This is the highest possible standard and one the Walmart/Gap initiative should be seeking to replicate. Instead what it provides is a pale imitation in terms of commitment and transparency. The workers’ and their unions’ voices will be heard loud and clear in the Accord but it will be muted in the plan presented by Walmart and Gap today.” UNI Deputy General Secretary, Christy Hoffman said: “Walmart are bringing their discount practices to factory safety. This is not a price war; this is about people’s lives. Walmart has dragged Gap and a number of other brands down the wrong track,” she declared. “We urge the Walmart/Gap initiative to think again and raise its standard to those of the Accord out of respect for Bangladesh and the Bangladeshi garment workers,” said Hoffman.

UK banks cut jobs worldwide B

y the end of 2013, the UK’s four largest banks will have axed 24% of their combined global workforce in the five years since the financial crisis broke, according to figures compiled by Bloomberg.

Royal Bank of Scotland, Lloyds Banking Group, Barclays and HSBC are on course to bring their aggregate headcount to a nine-year low of 606,000, compared with their pre-crisis peak of 795,000 in 2008. Since its £45bn bailout by the British Exchequer in 2008, RBS has axed 78,000 jobs – including 4,000 roles in its UK high-street banking business. Lloyds, which received a £20.5bn bailout in 2008, will have cut 31,000 jobs by the end of this year – including 2,340 in 2013 – while Barclays will have cut 20,800 jobs by the end of this year since the start of the crisis. This includes about 5,500 jobs lost in the UK between 2008 and 2012. Europe’s largest bank, HSBC, now employs 254,000 staff, compared with 313,000 in 2008.

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biosphere

Moritz Erhardt, the young banking intern w

Skin and groans Worked t

Cosmetic preservative linked to eczema epidemic

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octors are calling for an immediate ban on a chemical preservative – used in a range of cosmetic products including makeup, sun cream and shampoo – which is believed to have triggered an “epidemic” of eczema and related allergies.

According to dermatologists the chemical preservative – called methylisothiazolinone (MI) – is responsible for one in ten cases of severe skin allergies presenting in their clinics. Manufacturers started to use MI in a singificant way about five years ago after it was approved by the EU Commission as a preservative for products left on the skin in 2005. At the time, the available data suggested it was safe. MI extends the shelf life of a wide range of personal care products – like moisturisers, sun creams, shampoos, shaving creams and wet wipes. It is also found in paint. It stops products going mouldy by preventing unwanted growth of bacteria and yeasts. But in some people, their immune systems mistakenly identify

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Skincare products containing MI include: •

Nivea Daily Essentials face wipes, • Piz Buin One-Day Long Lotion, • Clarins ExtraFirming Day Cream, • L’Oreal RevitaLift Laser Renew, • Head and Shoulders hair shampoo, • Molton Brown Paradisiac Pink Pepperpod Body Lotion and • Wet Ones hand wipes.

MI as a threat, prompting an allergic reaction. MI is now second only to nickel in causing contact dermatitis, according to skin experts. One in twelve adults and one in five children in the UK now have eczema, of which contact dermatitis is one of the most common types. The first cases of MI allergy – which was identified using skin patch testing – began to appear in 2010. But this year 10% of patients with certain skin conditions are testing positive. Doctors say that in the past few years they have seen a major surge in patients suffering severe allergic reactions to products containing MI – in the form of rashes, scaling skin, swelling and eczema. The true scale of the problem has only come to light as a result of MI being used by millions of people, according to experts. While it is possible to avoid MI products, Dr. David Orton, President of the British Society for Cutaneous Allergy said: “The problem… is that it’s so ubiquitous that it’s very hard to find a shampoo or shower gel without it.”

Investment bank int

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he death of a young Bank of America Merrill Lynch employee in London last month has raised serious concerns about the excessive hours being demanded of interns working in investment banks.

German intern, Moritz Erhardt, aged 21, was coming to the end of a seven-week placement in Bank of America’s Merrill Lynch investment division in London when he collapsed and died in the shower at his flat after working through until 6am for three days in a row. A banking intern living in the same apartment block is reported to have said: “He apparently pulled eight all-nighters in two weeks. They get you working crazy hours and maybe it was just too much for him in the end.” Fellow interns and industry experts say that 15-hour days are understood to be expected of interns if they hope to have a chance of securing a full-time job later – with all-nighters not an uncommon occurrence. Concerned commentators point out that many interns, who are young, ambitious, and often unfamiliar with their rights and responsibilities as workers, are easy targets for exploitation by unscrupulous employers.


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I B OA

who is believed to have died from overwork.

to death Taking it to heart

tern dies in London

“For reasons related to an individual’s ambition or the current employment market, people are pretty desperate to get jobs,” Chris Roebuck, a British economist who has held top posts at several international banks, told The Financial Times. “Some employers are exploiting that fact, pushing people past the point where it makes sense for their health or from a business perspective.” Meanwhile, The Independent newspaper in London has dubbed the banking internship culture “Slavery in the City,” quoting a doctor who has often treated bankers as saying they received “inhumane treatment” at the hands of their employers. In sectors other than finance, the culture of internships has been subject to increasing scrutiny in recent years as internships have become a potential gateway to employment for young workers. In many parts of Western Europe, high youth unemployment has brought an upturn in the number of educated young people working as interns or on short-term contracts, rather than in full-time salaried posts. Meanwhile, in the US a wave of legal actions have challenged the widespread practice of unpaid internships, arguing that young people are often forced to do work with no educational value for no pay.

Job insecurity can seriously damage your health

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ob insecurity has been linked to an increased risk of coronary heart disease in a major research study.

After a comprehensive analysis of the results from a number of earlier studies – both published and unpublished – a team of international researchers, found this link was partly attributable to the poorer socio-economic circumstances and less favourable profile of risk factors among people experiencing job insecurity. Writing in the British Medical Journal, they say that “to our knowledge, with more than 170,000 participants and 1,800 incident cases of coronary heart disease (CHD), this is the largest study of job insecurity and incident CHD and provides the most comprehensive synthesis of evidence on this issue so far.” The research team has also noted that: “Intensified global economic competition is characterised by labour market deregulation, workplace downsizing, restructuring of companies in all sectors, and increased use of flexible forms of employment.

Work becomes less secure in UK Recent analysis by the British Trades Union Congress of figures from the latest labour force survey noted that the UK’s temporary workforce has increased by 230,000 since 2005 while the number of permanent of jobs has fallen by 8,000 over the same period.

“These changes have modified patterns of employment such that jobs are becoming increasingly unstable and insecure. Recent global financial crises have resulted in job insecurity becoming commonplace and for many, a chronic stressor.” Responding to the study, Paul Nicholson, chair of the British Medical Association’s Occupational Medicine Committee, noted that job insecurity is also linked to increased sickness and raised cholesterol levels and blood pressure, adding the new study was important “because we are living in ‘VUCA’ times, that is to say the world is: Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous. “While the acronym, VUCA, was first used by the US military after 9/11, it is now used commonly in the business world. Job insecurity is likely to be around for many years to come associated with a slow and uneven recovery from recession; and thereafter will happen at least cyclically as it has for many decades..” “Health professionals and governments need to be aware of the health consequences of job uncertainty in order to take effective steps to mitigate the risks and provide adequate resources.”

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words & music

The Doll’s House New thriller from Louise Phillips

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ouise Phillips’ first psychological thriller, Red Ribbons, was published last year and achieved a phenomenal debut. It was an instant bestseller and subsequently shortlisted for the Best Irish Crime Novel of 2012.

Her second novel, The Doll’s House, has just been released and promises to be yet another addictive, clever and well-researched read. “An overheard conversation about hypnosis was the initial hook in creating this story,” says Louise, “which is based on the practice of mental regression and the dangerous possibilities it opens up.” “What I loved about the story that developed for The Doll’s House,” she says, “was the idea that through hypnosis you had the ability to return to your past, where a pure memory exists.” As the novel unfolds secrets are revealed, layer by layer, through a series of fascinating and riveting hypnotic episodes in which the main protagonist, Clodagh Hamilton, is led back step by step to a dark and dangerous past, while living in an equally dangerous present with the killer having her firmly in his sights.

“It’s not necessary to have read Red Ribbons to enjoy The Doll’s House,” says Louise. They are completely separate stories, although those familiar with Red Ribbons will be glad to see criminal psychologist, Dr, Kate Pearson, and Detective Inspector O’Connor return, with a sub-plot of their evolving relationship which is handled skilfully as the book builds towards its breathless climax.

Louise Phillips… her new thriller , The Doll’s House, is every bit as gripping as her acclaimed debut novel, Red Ribbons

CHAPTERS BOOKSTORE Parnell Street Dublin 1

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It is certainly a thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat and so far it has received nothing but rave reviews from the critics. According to Myles McWeeney of the Irish Independent, “the past and present collide with deadly effect in The Doll’s House. Phillips has delivered a sequel that betters her debut – a gripping, suspenseful story peopled with welldrawn characters.” Employed in Bank of Ireland in Dublin from her early twenties until returning to her passion of writing seven years ago, Louise has won a number of literary awards – including the Jonathan Swift Award and the Irish Writers’ Centre Lonely Voice Platform as well as being shortlisted for many more – before publishing her first full-length thriller, Red Ribbons. She has been described as a chilling new voice in psychological crime. With her second novel, she has cemented her position as a significant player within this genre. Copies of both The Doll’s House and the smaller paperback edition of Red Ribbons are available nationwide or can be ordered via www.amazon.com or www.amazon.co.uk. For further information on Louise Phillips and The Doll’s House visit her website www.louise-phillips.com


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Hattie and Charley Webb

Sisters sublime Webbs wonderful

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he sublime Webb Sisters are making a triumphant return to Europe in the company of a veteran Canadian poet – who, having fallen on hard times after some rather than ill-judged financial investments – has since been the main beneficiary of a series of benefit concerts run in North America and Europe since 2008. Originally from Kent by way of Nashville and Los Angeles, Charley and Hattie Webb are singer-songwriters and multi-instrumentalists. Their rich and plaintive vocal harmonies have drawn comparison with a sisterly duo from an earlier generation in Canada – the McGarrigles, Anna and the recently deceased Kate – mother of Rufus Wainwright – with whom the Webbs have also recorded. Despite their relatively short career, the Webb Sisters have also collaborated with many other renowned artists including Sting, The Verve’s Simon Tong and Simon Jones, Jeff Trott, Mike Elizondo, Steve Booker, Angelo Petraglia, Steve Wiseman and Natalie Maines, along with Emmy award-winning producers, Rick Rubin and Peter Asher. After an earlier songwriting collaboration with Sharon Robinson, the Webb Sisters renewed their acquaintance with her in what has become an enduring partnership with the aforementioned Canadian poet – Leonard Cohen (right) – who in 2008 decided to go back on the road in a major “world” tour after a break of fifteen years.

Catch the Webb Sisters on Tour with Leonard Cohen September 3: Motorpoint Arena, Cardiff September 7: First Direct Arena, Leeds September 8: LG Arena, Birmingham September 11-12: The O2, Dublin September 15: The O2, London

The Webbs have remained an integral part of Cohen’s entourage on the 2008-2009 tour, the 2010-11 ‘World’ tour (which also took in Australia and New Zealand) and the current ‘Old Ideas’ tour which began in 2012 with a number of dates in Europe where it has now returned after the North American leg. The reborn Leonard Cohen – he’ll be a sprightly 79 later in September – has emerged as a remarkable performer with a self-deprecating humour which belies the remarkable lyricism of his songs (or perhaps, more accurately poems set to music). And the recent concerts by such a consummate craftsman have been filled with many amazing highlights. But paramount among these is his composition, If It Be Your Will, written in response to the changed life circumstances that prompted him to resume touring five years ago. In recent performances, Cohen has spoken the opening lines before entrusting the song, like a child, to the tender care of the Webb Sisters to cherish with their delicate harmonies into a fully formed rendition – combining intense emotion with a sense of calm acceptance. Many audience members have likened the moment evoked by the song to a spiritual experience – while music critics around the globe have tried in vain to find the words to describe their remarkable talent: but the voices of angels line sounds rather trite now. Cohen, himself, describes them simply as “sublime.”

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Valid at over 200 cinemas in the UK and Ireland

SPECIAL OFFER FOR IBOA MEMBERS IC Cinema Tickets Republic of Ireland: Adult €6.80 Child €4.60 Northern Ireland and Great Britain (excluding London): Adult £4.60 Child £3.65 London: Adult £7.00 Child £4.50

Valid at 26 cinemas around Ireland and over180 more in Britain to see any film at any time on any day. The majority of people living in the UK and Ireland are no more than 20 minutes away from one of the participating cinemas. For the full list, see www.iccinema.co.uk/ To avail of these tickets, please send a cheque made payable for the number of tickets you require to IBOA Cinema Offer, IBOA House, Stephen Street Upper, Dublin 8. Note: IBOA accepts no responsibliity for lost or stolen tickets or for tickets which have passed their expiry date.

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cinematique

Howard’s way

Racing movie with real drama

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oaring into a cinema near you soon is Ron Howard’s new movie, Rush, which is being hailed as the best motor racing film ever made – with the possible exception of the award-winning documentary, Senna.

Of course, such an accolade may not be that prestigious considering the general dearth of motor racing films – and the comparatively few stand-out movies among them. It seems that we can either have exhilarating race footage or a decent storyline with well drawn characters – but rarely a film that combines both. Grand Prix has plenty of the former but little of the latter – while Le Man has the übercool presence of Steve McQueen but, lamentably, a contrived storyline of no consequence. But Rush goes back to reality by taking as its inspiration the actual drama of the 1976 Formula 1 World Championship – which was marked by the intense rivalry between Britain’s James Hunt and Austria’s Niki Lauda.

Hunt embodied the classic stereotype of the F1 racing driver – with a playboy lifestyle of champagne parties and glamorous women – while Lauda was so single-minded in his pursuit of glory that, despite a major crash which should have ended his season, he fought on to the bitter end - battered and scarred but unbowed. Ron Howard is a master storyteller who has come a long way from his role as Richie Cunningham in Happy Days. His diverse back catalogue as a director includes A Beautiful Mind, Frost/Nixon, Apollo 13, Cocoon, Backdraft, Splash and Willow. For Rush, he is re-united with his Frost/Nixon screenwriter, Peter Morgan. The cast includes Australian Chris Hemsworth as James Hunt. Hemsworth had to lose over two stones from his recent fighting weight in Thor so as to fit inside the streamlined shell of a vintage Grand Prix racing car. Daniel Brühl (Inglourious Basterds) is Niki Lauda, while Olivia Wilde (House), Alexandra Maria Lara (The Reader) and Natalie Dormer (The Tudors and The Game of Thrones) provide strong support.

TAKE

Above: Chris Hemsworth (right) and Daniel Bruhl in Ron Howard’s new film, Rush. Below: James Hunt (top) and Niki Lauda (bottom).

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About Time Gleeson gets starring role Domhnall Gleeson (yes, son of one and brother of another) takes the lead in Richard Curtis’s latest (and perhaps last) film, About Time. Curtis, the creator of Love Actually, Four Weddings and a Funeral, Notting Hill and Blackadder (not to mention co-founder of Comic Relief) has declared that he is hanging up his clapper-board because of the intolerable stresses associated with directing a film. Writing is much less pressured by comparison. His final offering as a director sees Gleeson as a time-traveller attempting by a process of trial and error to win the favours of Rachel McAdams. It has a bit of a Groundhog Day vibe – except, of course, that Bill Murray is fated to relive the same day until he completes his mission of self-improvement – whereas Gleeson’s character travels through time to revisit critical moments in pursuit of his relationship with McAdams. A rom-com with a twist, About Time is a fitting swansong for this phase of Curtis’s career

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prize crossword A prize of €50 will be awarded to the first entry drawn from our post bag after the closing date. 1

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1. Large bird (7) 5. Kind of duster (7) 10. Strip the hide off (4) 11. In a dutiful fashion (10) 12. Charm (6) 13. Dark coloured fruit (8) 14. Became more plentiful (9) 16. Vital organ (5) 17. Trap (5) 20. Test (9) 24. Single educated man? (8) 25. Labelling (6) 27. Amplification device (10) 28. Area of land (4) 29. Independent judge (7) 30. Confer right (7)

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2. King reputedly wise (7) 3. Regal (5) 4. Country in Central Europe (7) 6. Fit to eat (6) 7. Kind of orange (9) 8. Make bigger (7) 9. Frail (6) 15. Type of thoroughbred animal (9) 18. Greed (7) 20. Terror (6) 21. Light usually outdoors (7) 22. Senior military officer (7) 23. Pass by (6) 26. City in Florida (5)

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PREVIOUS SOLUTION

…………………………………………………………………… …………………………………………………………………… E-mail Address……………………………………………………

Across: 1. Crocodile; 6. Tears; 9. Infer; 10. Pneumonia; 11. Fantasists; 12. Clap; 14. Cliched; 15. Regular; 17. Prepare; 19. Pyramid; 20. Road; 22. Fantasised; 25. Gelignite; 26. Image; 27. Taste 28. Endangers.

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Down: 1. Chief; 2. Offensive; 3. Oireachtas; 4. Implied; 5. Elector; 6. Tome; 7. Annal; 8. Scampered; 13. Aggression; 14. Copyright; 16. Lampshade; 18. Examine; 19. Pithead. 21. Atlas; 23. Dress; 24. Ogle.

A prize of €50 will be given to the sender of the first correct entry drawn from our post bag on October 1, 2013. 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.

The winning entry for the prize crossword competition in the last issue was submitted by Tina Molloy-Johnston of Letterkenny, Co. Donegal.

10% of all products and services for IBOA members and their families. For more information, check out the IBOA Group Scheme in the My IBOA section of the IBOA websites. 42

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picture board

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Use the first letter of the surnames of each of the seven celebrities pictured to spell out the surname of a leading singer. Answers on a post card, please, with your name, postal address, 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 October 1, 2013. The winner of the last Picture Board quiz was Sarah McCrory of Newtownards, Co. Down. The answers to the seven clues were Bullock, Izzard, Gandhi, Electra, Lopez, Ora, Winfrey - giving the surname, Bigelow (Oscar-winning director, Kathryn).

sudoku A prize of €30 will be awarded to the sender of the first correct entry drawn from our post bag on October 1, 2013. 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 photo­­copy of the grid – if you prefer not to cut up the magazine. The winning entry for the Sudoku Challenge in the last issue was submitted by Catherine Barry of Skibbereen Co. Cork.

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game time with george hamilton Lightning flash Bolt strikes blow for redemption of Track and Field

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f ever a picture told a story, it was the one that captured the moment when Usain Bolt was crowned fastest man in the world. On that wet night in Moscow a few short weeks ago, the snapper from AFP was stationed in the pit beside the track. His image framed the 6’5” champion against the towering backdrop of the Luzhniki Stadium.

At the time, that made him the youngest male athlete to have won a world junior championship at any event. The next year, he broke the world junior record for 200 metres, and at 17 he became the first junior athlete to run the event in under 20 seconds. That record, by the way, still stands. All of which is to say that the arrival of Usain Bolt, as the sprinter of the age, followed a trajectory that suggested an absolute absence of anything other than a phenomenal running talent. He ended Moscow as the most decorated athlete in the 30-year history of the sport’s World Championships. He now has eight gold and two silver medals. Last year, he took his total of Olympic medals to six – all of them gold. In the great wide world of sport, Track and Field offers competition of the purest sort – athletes each competing directly against the opposition. In that competition, surely the race to become the fastest is the blue riband to beat them all. Usain Bolt has done just that. Again and again. When he does what he does, some faith is restored. And for that, the colossus from the Caribbean deserves our most grateful thanks.

Above, in that instant, the heavy heavens were lit up by a jagged flash of lightning. Like the man on the track down below, a force of nature. Not even the worst the weather could throw at him could prevent Bolt’s successful bid for a fourth individual World Championships gold medal. And this in a summer when it seemed the sky was falling in on Track and Field. On the very eve of the Moscow event, the bronze medallist from the women’s 100 metres in the previous Worlds – Kelly-Ann Baptiste from Trinidad and Tobago – failed a drugs test and was banned, joining the 2013 roll of shame that also included a former world champion in Tyson Gay and a former world record holder in Asafa Powell –two of the four fastest men ever over 100 metres.

Stan (ozolol)’s the man

It’s nothing new, of course. I well remember that Tuesday morning in Seoul 25 years ago when we were woken to be told that what we’d thought had been the greatest race of all time, three days before, had, in fact, been a sham. The Olympic sprint champion, Ben Johnson – whose thrilling dash beyond Carl Lewis had smashed the world record – was a cheat, testing positive for the anabolic steroid, stanozolol. Unfortunately the shock has no worn off as others were found out down the years since. Linford Christie was banned two years after he won the 100 metres gold at the Atlanta Olympics in 1996. Tim Montgomery who set a world record of 9.78 seconds in the event in 2002, admitted steroid use at a subsequent grand jury hearing in the US.

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His career was over, his name and his achievements removed from Track and Field’s roll of honour. Montgomery’s then girlfriend, Marion Jones – the first woman to win five medals at a single Olympics at Sydney in 2000 – suffered similar ignominy, and ended up in prison (as indeed did he, on another count). Now, Gay and Powell have tested positive for banned substances. And that’s only one event. There would be a strong temptation to throw your hat at it – to say the sport is so riven with cheating that it is beyond redemption. But then along comes Usain Bolt who’s been breaking records since he was a kid. In 2002, when he was just 15, he won the World Junior 200 metres title.

Mr. Track and Field, Usain Bolt (Photo: Inpho/Photosport /Anthony Au-Yeug)

Bank of Ireland to back Munster for another 5 years Bank of Ireland has agreed to continue as main sponsor of Munster Rugby for another five seasons – continuing a relationship dating back fifteen years to 1998, firstly as main sponsor and more recently as official banking partner. Pictured at the announcement were (back from left) John Keegan, Director of Distribution Channels Bank of Ireland; Garrett Fitzgerald, CEO, Munster Rugby; David Merriman, Regional Manager Bank of Ireland South West; Munster head coach, Rob Penney; with (front from left) players, Andrew Conway and Paul O’Connell (Photo: INPHO/Billy Stickland).


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O

n the subject of faith restored, it was a sheer delight to be in Brazil for the first time to witness the renaissance of that nation’s football team whose joyous pursuit of the Confederations Cup back in June was another highlight of a summer of some excellence.

If ever you needed a reminder of how trifling a matter sport really is, though, it was there in Brazil too. All is not well in that country, and the excessive expenditure required for the installation of the infrastructure for the world’s biggest party was enough to bring huge crowds on to the streets to protest. The football team did its bit to draw the sting out of a situation that had serious potential to become really ugly. But now that the dress rehearsal is over, and there’s a southern spring and summer to be spent only too aware of the inadequacies that persist in the social fabric of what is a huge country, there can be no guarantee that the World Cup won’t be played out against a backdrop of agitation. Before we get there – and the way things have worked in the World Cup over the years, with South Africa being the only distant destination in the last two decades that didn’t play host to the team in green, there’s surely a better than even chance that the Republic of Ireland will make it – there’s a northern winter of agony and ecstasy, not to mention a modicum of discontent, to be enjoyed. For 2013-2014, so much has changed. Alex has gone. José is back. The owners at the Etihad have a calm hand on the tiller. And Arsène is, well, being Arsène.

Casinoball Premier League returns in England

And yet so much remains the same: two from Manchester, two from London doing battle for the major prize in England’s Premier League. For all their huff and puff, it requires a fair stretch of the imagination to see Liverpool back in the Champions League places by the end of May. But what about Tottenham, putting themselves in hock for the cash that would come when they finally sold their prize asset? It’s all business, isn’t it?

Above: the new (and old) Chelsea manager, Jose Mourinho (Photo: Inpho/Denis Doyle/ Getty Images).

FIXED INTEREST

Just like the snatching of Willian from under their noses by the late bid from Chelsea. It’s unlikely to be as plain a sail for Manchester United as it was last season. The mettle of David Moyes will be tested as never before, while the stars on the other side of town seem much more content now that they no longer run the risk of being cast as pantomime villains. The Mourinho factor is sure to galvanise Chelsea, and he certainly has the resources to play the expansive football the owner craves. But there’s the rub, for Mourinho’s considerable success has been built on foundations driven deep with pragmatism. If the excitement should fail to be matched with an excess of points, will he be able to resist reverting to type? Gunners short of fire power Wenger hasn’t survived so long without knowing how to cut it. Despite the dreadful defeat to Aston Villa on the opening day of the Premier League, he pointed out with justification that his team had lost only that one since the beginning March – a stat scoffed at by the begrudgers on Twitter who pointed to the fact that that included a period of almost three months when there had been no football for the clubs to play. Arsenal were in need of a run at the end of last season to secure a place in the Champions League play-off, and they duly delivered. The others in the top four all lost four times over the same period. Tottenham, by the way, only lost three. At Arsenal, the trophies may have been conspicuous by their absence – it’ll be ten years next May since they last won the Premier League, nine years since they won the FA Cup, and since 2005 there has been nothing – but Wenger has managed to keep them on an even keel. Their squad is short, though, and even with substantial investment before the transfer window closes, you wonder if it can all come good in the space of just one season. It’s as intriguing as it’s been for a long time. Usual suspects And just as one swallow doesn’t make a summer, so results in August don’t decide a championship. It’ll be the usual suspects, all right. I can’t see Liverpool joining in, and it will be even more difficult for Arsène’s Arsenal to make it into the top four with Tottenham’s additional firepower. I’d even consider a modest punt on Spurs at the 25/1 each way, that’s on offer as I write. For even though it may be the usual suspects, some are looking slightly more suspect than others!

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SPECTRUM

september 2013

IBOA THE FINANCE UNION

www.iboa.ie

www.iboa.org.uk

stephen malone

AIB awash with cash! S

ince the advent of the banking crisis, AIB has frequently been confused with Anglo Irish Bank in the foreign media – requiring the Bank’s public relations department to issue clarifications on more than one occasion during the past five years in order to dissociate the State-owned bank from its more reputationally challenged former rival. However the latest ‘AIB’ to appear in the global financial press is the rather more exotic Awash International Bank of Ethiopia – whose current fortunes stand in sharp contrast to its namesake in Ireland. The most profitable of Ethiopia’s private banks, Awash reported an unaudited gross profit of 639m Ethiopian birr (€25.4m) in the 20122013 fiscal year – up 18% on the previous fiscal year. Its total revenue in 2012/13 he cost of compensating bank fiscal year reached 1.4bn birr, customers who were mis-sold (€55.6m) showing a growth of 309m birr (€12.3m) or 28% compayment protection insurance (PPI) pared to the previous year. in the UK has now exceeded The oldest and largest private £18.4bn – or double the amount bank in Ethiopia, Awash has opened spent on last year’s Olympic Games 29 new branches in the past fiscal in London – according to British year bringing its total number of consumer rights magazine, Which? branches to 115. Lenders such as banks and building societies typically offer PPI to customers with loans and credit cards to cover repayments in the event of borrowers suffering loss of earnings through sickness, accident or unemployment. But, in many thousands of cases borrowers were either not told that PPI was optional or later found that exclusions in the policies made them ineligible for compensation when they went to make a claim.

Mis-selling of PPI hits Olympian proportions

T

Feeling the pressure: Oleg Tinkov of Tinkoff Credit Systems (Reuters)

Always read the small print! Man sues over credit card contract A man who altered the terms of his own credit card contract to give himself unlimited credit is suing his bank after it shut down his card. Dmitry Argarkov from Voronezh in Russia, responded to an unsolicited proposal for a credit card from Tinkoff Credit Systems by setting out his own terms and conditions. Unhappy with the advertised interest rate, he changed it to 0% with no fees payable and no credit limit. He also amended the terms so that the finance company would

The dark Mournes sweep down to Santa

46

It’s hard to believe that the Santa season is almost upon us once again. But here’s a brief reminder that the Union’s Sports and Social elves will again be organising a trip to Santa’s Cottage in the Mourne Mountains later in the year. So keep an eye on the Events section of the Union websites for details of the arrangements. Places are likely to be limited. So, as always, participation will be on the basis of ‘first come first served.’

have to pay him 3m roubles (£60,000/ €68,500) for any change it made in the contract with a 6m rouble penalty if it tried to scrap the contract. Argarkov sent his “counterproposal” to the company – and, to his surprise, received a credit card together with a copy of his application form which had been approved by the company. After two years of active use, the company decided to close the account because Argarkov had fallen behind with the repayments. It also sued him for 45,000 roubles in fees and charges which, of course, had not been included in Argarkov’s version of the contract. But a judge has now ruled in Argakov’s favour, saying the amended contract was valid and that Tinkoff was legally bound to honour it. So Argakov only has to pay the outstanding balance of 19,000 roubles. He is now counter-suing Tinkoff for 24m roubles on the grounds that the company had breached the contract by terminating it without paying him the cancellation fee.


www.iboa.ie

www.iboa.org.uk

IBOA THE FINANCE UNION

september 2013

THE  IRISH BANKERS’ CLUB IBOA HOUSE, STEPHEN STREET UPPER, DUBLIN 8 Telephone: 01-4758970 10am-12noon or after 5pm (Tuesday-Saturday).

MARGIN CALL

SPECTRUM

CLUB OPENING HOURS: Tuesday-Saturday: 4.30pm until late. Sunday-Monday: closed.

NOW SELLING

THE 28TH BANKERS’ CLUB DRAW Magnificent Holidays and Magnificent Cash Prizes Early Entry Prizes and Monthly Attendance Prizes Open to All IBOA Members and Partners The Draw Application Form is included with this issue of Spectrum UPCOMING CLUB DRAW NIGHTS

CLUB MEMBERSHIP

Friday, September 27: 1st Prize: Two weeks for 2 in The Amalfi Coast 2nd Prize: €300 3rd Prize: €250 4th Prize: €200

New members welcome Join now for free membership until September 2014 – and cost then only €20 a year!

Features include: • Reduced room hire rates • Bar & meeting room facilities • Catering & DJ facilities • Big screen for all sporting occasions • Full bar licence – extensions available

Friday, October 25: 27th Grand Draw Night 1st Prize: Two weeks for 2 in Thailand or Australia or Tanzania (including Zanzibar) 2nd Prize: €1,000 3rd Prize: €500 4th Prize: €300 5th Prize: €200

For more information, please contact Michael Martin, Honorary Secretary, Irish Bankers’ Club, at the address above.

Friday, December 20: The 28th Annual Christmas Draw Night (See 28th Draw Application Form enclosed)

DRAW RESULTS Results of recent Bankers’ Club draws are posted on the IBOA websites at:

All draws at 9pm sharp. Bar food served 5pm-10pm.

www.iboa.ie/services/sportsand social/bankersclub.html

Usual spot prizes for those attending draw

or www.iboa.org.uk/services/sports andsocial/bankersclub.html

Club Bookings

SPECIAL OFFERS FOR 2013 All IBOA members, Club members and their friends or family members can book the Bankers’ Club for a party or special function for just €100 from August to December 2013: Phone Alan at 01-4758970 Book your Christmas Party at the Bankers’ Club and enjoy free room hire during December 2013.

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Spectrum September 2013  

Spectrum is published by IBOA The Finance Union - the trade union representing workers in the financial services sector in the Republic of I...

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