KRD Credit Union are to make several job cuts across their workforce in all their three branches of the organisation – citing that ‘members needs have changed significantly’.
The organisation, who recently made a major investment in the construction of new premises on Main Street in Ballymoney – having previously occupied a much smaller building on Castle Street in the town – have two other branches based in Dunloy and Kilrea.
The new Ballymoney offices were opened in early February and before the COVID restrictions, had seen an influx of new members signing up. Due to restrictions, however, opening hours had to be reduced resulting in many members signing up online instead, requiring less face to face with Credit Union staff.
The job losses are expected to affect six members of staff, who will now face unemployment and uncertainty over the Christmas period
General Manager for KRD Credit Union, Claire Doherty, spoke to us this morning saying: “Job losses are due to enhancements in technology and the members are now utilising very much the online services more now than ever.”
“Many of our member’s needs have changed significantly due to the Covid Impact and the response from members who now use the online processes is very positive. Recognising this as a permanent change, this, in turn, triggered difficult decisions to be made by the Board of Directors and the senior management team.
“It is our duty to ensure that KRD Credit Union is viable for the long term in order to support our community,” says Claire.
Commenting on the job redundancies now facing six staff members, Claire said: “The job losses are of course regrettable, however, they are necessary as some roles are now totally removed from the daily workload. We have worked closely with our staff to reach this point and we are thankful for their input to the whole process.
“No time is a good time for redundancies however to ensure KRD is capable of providing our members with their financial needs and for all the Christmas’s to come these difficult decisions were necessary.
According to one person who spoke to us on Thursday morning, the organisation made “no attempt” to avail of the additional one-month extension of furlough announced last week by the UK government. This they say could have protected jobs till at least December.
Since then there has however been a further announcement made on Thursday by the Chancellor Rishi Sunak that he intends extending the furlough scheme until March 2021 at 80%, which would be reviewed in January.
Despite the extension of the furlough scheme which has the potential to protect jobs like these, Claire told us that it would be “unethical and an unfair” in these circumstances, explaining that: “KRD utilised the furlough scheme from 20th April right up until mid-July and we made the decision not to use the government funding further to pay for roles that are no longer there as this would have been unethical and an unfair practice, therefore, adding pressure to an already strained government resource.”
Local Councillor, Alderman John Finlay responded to the news on Thursday saying: “I was disappointed to discover local job redundancies at the KRD Credit Union in Ballymoney. This is devastating news for staff and the local economy.
“Chancellor Rishi Sunak has confirmed that he will extend the furlough scheme across the UK until the end of March. This will protect millions of jobs throughout the winter. I would encourage employers to make use of this scheme, rather than making staff redundant. We are faced with extremely uncertain times and so it is crucial that it is used to ensure both businesses and staff can get through the pandemic.”
A recent post by the Credit Union on their Facebook page read: ‘Just a reminder that KRD Credit Union is here for all our members during these uncertain times. If you have any queries, don’t hesitate to get in touch and we’ll do everything we can to help’.
Claire concluded by asking us to remind the public that the Credit Union will continue to provide all their current services.