Ulster Bank has announced the details of two voluntary redundancy programmes which will see about 600 staff leave the bank as part of its withdrawal from the Irish market.

There will be an "At Risk" redundancy package available to around 450 staff working in the bank's remaining 63 branches who are not transferring to Permanent TSB, and for a small number of staff working in personal banking.

Under this programme, staff will have the option to apply for voluntary redundancy or enter a period of redeployment where they can look for another role on either a temporary or longer-term basis.

A second redundancy programme, called the "Business Led Voluntary Redundancy Scheme" will be available to around 350 staff whose work is expected to cease or significantly diminish during the first half of 2023.

Both schemes open today, with a two-week window for staff to apply.

Ulster Bank says that through both programmes, it is expected that around 600 staff will leave the bank from March 2023 and that other workers have and will continue to transfer to Permanent TSB and AIB.

As of 31 August, there were 2,431 people employed by Ulster Bank.

While Ulster Bank is not currently announcing a firm date for branch closures, 25 branches will close in January and will reopen as PTSB branches.

An update on the remaining branches is expected in the New Year.

"While these plans have been well signposted to colleagues as part of our withdrawal communications, the programmes announced today will offer some clarity for those in scope, and for those not in scope today, we expect that further redundancy programmes will be opened in 2023 and beyond, meaning that colleagues who are not in scope today, are likely to be included in future programmes, with exit dates expected to be later in 2023 and 2024," Ulster Bank's chief executive Jane Howard said.

Ulster Bank CEO Jane Howard

The Financial Services Union (FSU) said that while today's announcement was expected and brings some clarity, it is still a worrying and difficult time for staff.

"We have highlighted to the bank that the implementation of the redundancy programme is contingent on the progress of the account closure and opening processes which to date is not sufficiently advanced,' John O'Connell, General Secretary of the Financial Services Union, said.

"There needs to be some flexibility on the timelines announced to ensure that the exit happens in an orderly manner. We will continue to work with the bank to get the best outcome possible for our members," he said.

The redundancy package has been previously agreed and will see workers receive five weeks' pay per year of service inclusive of statutory redundancy or four weeks per year of service plus statutory, whichever is greater.