Staff at the Westport branch of Permanent TSB have been informed of the branches closure as part of the bank’s restructuring process. A total of 16 branches out of the current 92 will shut down nationwide. This closure will have repercussions for approximately eight staff employed at the bank, which is located on Bridge Street in the town. Two other branches in Mayo — Ballina and Castlebar — will continue to operate.
In a statement released by Permanent TSB, the company states that the restructuring plans are designed “to create a smaller, profitable ‘new’ Permanent TSB bank by 2016 and secure the future of the bank as an efficient, competitive, and customer focused bank. The restructuring follows intensive engagement with the Troika and the submission of a detailed viability plan by the bank to the European Commission.”
It is expected that job losses of between 195 to 250 staff could be seen overall — between 120 and 150 jobs are to go from across the branch network and a further 75 to 100 from a restructuring of head office functions.
The remaining branch closures will be four in Dublin, four in Cork, three in Tipperary, one in Athy in Co Kildare, one in Donegal town, one in Enniscorthy, and one in Waterford city. Along with these closures, two other branches will become self-service locations. An additional Dublin city centre branch will also close but the bank has plans to invest significantly in a nearby branch to create a flagship city centre site.
The national co-ordinator for Unite — the trade union representing more than 2,000 staff — Walter Cullen, commented to the Mayo Advertiser that this will have “a devastating effect” on staff in these branches, who up until Wednesday did not know which branches would close. Unite “hope the bank fully appreciates the worry and concern which it has impressed on members of staff and their families.”
Mr Cullen added: “From our perspective those who want to remain employed with the bank will do so,” even if in some cases this may mean deployment to other branches. Mr Cullen said that the bank is launching a voluntary severance scheme, which may achieve the numbers sought in redundancy. This scheme is based on three weeks’ pay per year of service plus statutory entitlements.
A schedule of meetings with Unite will take place throughout the country over the next week.
Locally, a spokesperson for the Castlebar Council of Trade Unions has said that these redundancies, along with other job losses across the banking sector in various institutions, means that branch closures have an enormous impact on smaller rural locations, which “will be first to suffer”. The Castlebar Council of Trade Unions added that branch closures “will have a knock on effect on the already struggling retail and commercial sector”.