The Financial Services Union has criticised KBC Bank Ireland for refusing to attend a Workplace Relations Commission conciliation meeting aimed at dealing with staff concerns about proposed redundancies arising from branch closures.

The union said the decision by the bank was deeply disappointing and claimed the bank's actions show it has no regard for the official industrial relations mechanisms here.

Gareth Murphy, Head of Industrial Relations and Campaigns with the FSU said KBC had been criticised in the past for having flawed internal engagement procedures.

"In 2018 the WRC made a recommendation on a complaint involving KBC stating "that there was a shortfall in how the complaints were investigated," he said and added it is disappointing that the policy of not recognising the union continues.

The FSU said it has now referred the issues directly to the Labour Court, but remains available to meet with KBC at any time.

In a statement KBC said it has robust procedures in place for engaging with employees through its internal Employee Council and directly with employees on all matters affecting their employment.

"We respect our employees' rights to join a trade union. Our policy has always been to deal with our employees on a direct basis," it said.

In September, KBC Bank Ireland said it would close four of its 16 branches or "hubs".

The outlets impacted are Dundrum in Dublin, Greystones in Co Wicklow, Naas in Co Kildare and Kilkenny.

Less than 20 jobs are expected to be lost once redeployment and the creation of new roles elsewhere are taken into account.

The move followed a review by KBC of its hub network.