With a bank strike looming how are businesses planning to operate?

Just weeks after a pay agreement for administrative staff in banks was finalised, new differences have arisen in negotiations between Irish Bank Officials Association (IBOA) which has 10,000 members and the Joint Industrial Council for the Banks (JIC) on a new pay deal.

Talks between the two parties are ongoing, but strike notice by bank officials has been served which could lead to banks closing their doors from Monday 28 June.

It is an uncertain time for any business, small or large, whose experience of the 1970 bank strike was far from positive. With cash supplies nonexistent, many business owners who agreed to cash customers' cheques went out of business. Many more were targeted by fraudsters.

Superquinn manager John Gunnigle says for now they will accept customer cheques accompanied by a banker’s card, for the amount of goods purchased. This policy will be revised as the bank strike situation unfolds. Cash flow must be protected in order for the business to operate.

If it was to go on for any period of time at all I’d hate to think of what the consequences might be.

The local pub is a place where cheques are currently cashed, but Joe Fitzsimons of the Foxes Covert pub in Tallaght says that only government cheques and company cheques of patrons well known to management will be cashed here. Publicans are cautious, as so many of them were badly affected by previous bank strikes.

Most of the places that I know of did lose a considerable amount of money.

The attitude of garages and petrol stations has been dictated to them by the big companies with which they deal. Petrol supply companies and motor manufacturers have told the garages that no cash means no supplies.

Garage owner James Barton says that while cheques were cashed during the last bank strike, this will not be repeated. Departmental managers will be permitted to use their discretion.

His hope is that government will pay part of the wages of public servants and employees of state or semi-state bodies in cash, which would help the situation somewhat. A bank strike does not bode well for an industry which has been through a very difficult period.

A bank strike at the moment could affect us quite seriously.

This report for 'Seven Days’ was broadcast on 25 June 1976. The reporter is Michael Ryan.

Some sections of the footage show here are mute.