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Bank staff take strike vote after job cut plan.

A STRIKE could be on the cards at Ulster Bank as staff vote for industrial action, with workers angry at the bank's plans to cut jobs and reduce wages.

A walkout could take place later this month.

It's understood that a significant number of union members have said they are prepared to walk out unless the bank backs down on plans to cut salaries and axe jobs.

The official result of the vote will be announced tomorrow.

But already it's clear that staff have backed the tough stance adopted by their union, the Irish Bank Officials Association.

The Ulster Bank has declined to comment on the news, saying it is waiting for confirmation from the union.It will be keen to find out just how many workers took part in the strike ballot and the precise number who voted for strike action.

The readiness of the staff to strike is likely to put pressure on the independent tribunal which is reviewing the Ulster Bank's restructuring plans and the union's objections to it.

It's expected to report its findings early next week.

The bank is not committed to accept its proposals but nevertheless would be unlikely to reject them.

It wants to cut the number of staff working in its branches and transfer them either to new administration offices or to 10 centres catering for the needs of small businesses.

Some staff will have their salaries cut, but the bank hopes that nobody will be forced out of work.

Other banks planning to re-organise like the Ulster will be watching this dispute very closely.

They'll want to know just how far union members will go to defend their interests before they announce their own schemes.
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Publication:The People (London, England)
Date:Jan 7, 2001
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