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Bank of Ireland criticizes IBOA stance on staff pensions

Leading Irish lender Bank of Ireland has labeled the Irish Bank Official Association's decision to ballot for strike action as "completely unnecessary," adding that it was wrong to ballot those unaffected by the bank's changes to its staff pension provisions.

Bank of Ireland ushered in a new pensions deal for new starters from October 1, 2006. However, the new provision does not provide the same level of benefits as the bank’s pre-existing scheme, which has led the Irish Bank Official Association (IBOA) to criticize Bank of Ireland’s move and to call for a ballot of its members to determine if a strike should be arranged.

However, the IBOA intends to ballot all members, including those who will not be affected by the pension changes, a move that has drawn reciprocal condemnation from the major lender.

While registering its disappointment with the IBOA move, Bank of Ireland also argued that its changes were necessary, reflecting the general business environment, but were still more generous than many of its competitors.

The bank said that new employees who contribute the full top-up amount have the prospect of a 66.7% pension after 45 years service plus index linking and state pension. The lender added that it thought its new scheme would continue to attract high-caliber employees and would still deliver a very attractive pension prospect at retirement.