Bankers have nothing to fear

Letter in today’s Irish Independent.

Bankers allowed make their own rules

IT is with a sense of despair, but not surprise, that I read the top brass of our bailed-out banks continue to reward themselves for failure, and our toothless Government just stands aside as they top up their pensions by multiples of the average industrial wage each year (Irish Independent, May 18). This, apparently, cannot be touched as it’s in their contracts.

As a rank-and-file employee in a leading financial institution for pushing 12 years I can tell you from experience that contracts can, and are, changed by banks.

Although I joined a couple of years too late to avail of the defined benefit scheme that was operating for new employees in the mid-1990s, a number of my colleagues were on it, thereby getting a set percentage of their final salary on retirement.

Two years ago, due to the ‘dire funding position’ of the defined benefit pension pot, all their contracts were changed and they had to start contributing a significant percentage of their salary.

This percentage is subject to (a probably upward only) review. Of course the Government then went and added their own slap in the face with the extra three years to retirement, but that’s another story.

If contracts can be changed for ordinary financial institution employees, there’s no reason why they cannot be changed for the top brass. This all reeks of a ploy to get around the new bank salary cap. At the same time, the top bankers are conveniently avoiding having to take what looks remarkably like a bonus in the form of their now worthless bank shares — instead, they take it as a pension top-up.

I’m not surprised at the bankers, who are feathering their own nests, or at our complicit politicians, who are happy to shift the focus from their own substantial nest eggs, but I despair.

Name and address with editor
Irish Independent

It has to be said again and again. The only reason bankers can feel completely safe in behaving in such an obnoxious manner is because Ireland is an intrinsically corrupt state. Nothing will change until the rotten; beyond reform political system is destroyed.

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