Union members of the IT department at the Bank of Ireland have threatened to go on strike if they are not represented in contract negotiations with Hewlett-Packard over a proposed $600m (£377m), seven-year outsourcing deal.
Earlier this month, the Dublin-based bank announced plans to outsource its IT infrastructure activities - including its desktop, mid-range, mainframe and network environments - to HP.
The deal would affect 500 workers at Bank of Ireland ITSIS, the bank's IT arm, where roughly one-third of the staffers are members of the Irish Bank Officials' Association (IBOA).
On the 16 April, 83% of IBOA's members who participated in a vote agreed to give the bank two weeks' notice of "industrial action", which includes the threat of an all-out strike. The vote was taken to prevent the Bank of Ireland from proceeding with an outsourcing arrangement with HP unless there are "full negotiations and agreement" from the union, according to IBOA's website.
Anne Mathews, a spokeswoman for the Bank of Ireland, said the bank "couldn't have meaningful discussions" with IBOA "until a preferred provider had been selected". She added that contract negotiations with HP will continue during the next four to six months and that IBOA will have a voice in those discussions.
Officials from the Bank of Ireland and IBOA have met in their first round of talks since the contract was signed earlier this month.