Bank Seeks Redundancies As Recession Bites

As shock news emerged today that more that 700 jobs are to be lost at the Ulster Bank across Ireland, there's yet more evidence that the recession is hitting hard with shock redundancies predicted across the UK's steel industry.

While bank staff across both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland are preparing for bad news - as part of the Ulster's cost-cutting plan - thousands of steel industry jobs at the huge Corus group are also in jeopardy.

Bank staff are expected to be approached on the basis of lay-offs being rolled out on a voluntary basis.

Ulster Bank's cost-cutting plan is likely to see 550 jobs lost in the Republic, with a further 200 redundancies in Northern Ireland.

Ulster Bank said it will shut down its mortgage and investment arm First Active as part of the scheme.

The merger will mean the amalgamation of First Active and Ulster Bank branches in 45 locations throughout Ireland.

Corus, a subsidiary of the Indian-owned company Tata Steel, which employs 24,000 workers in the UK, has declined to comment on speculation that it is planning to cut up to 3,500 jobs from its global workforce of 42,000.

The GMB union said joint union officials were meeting Corus at the firm's plant in Scunthorpe to hear the details.

It is believed that the company had been planning to restructure the business but the severity of the crisis which has hit the world steel industry means Corus has to act quickly.

Steel prices, which had been driven to record highs by demand from China, have more than halved in the last year.


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