SIPTU Sector Organiser, Adrian Kane, and UNITE Regional Officer, Colm Quinlan, have said that the decision to wind down ACC it is a very sad day for the bank’s employees and their families. Following the announcement by ACC management this morning that it will return its banking license to the State in 2014, the union representatives said:“This is a very sad end for a financial institution with a proud history and for the employees and their families. The bank which was founded in 1926 is one of the oldest banks in the State. Over its long history its workforce has contributed hugely to the development of the agriculture industry throughout the country.“The bank should never have been privatised in the early 1990s and if it had stuck to its core mission it would still be financially viable today. The sale of ACC to Rabobank unfortunately saw it entering the property market and the ultimate folly of this decision is being paid by the workforce today with the announcement that 180 jobs are to go in 2014.”“The workers are obviously very angry about the announcement, especially since they have been consistently told over the last five years that it was ‘business as usual’. We will be seeking an urgent meeting with the Government to look at utilising the skills base of ACC staff, which combined with capital in the Strategic Investment Fund and other funds, could be used to develop a State Investment Bank,” Kane and Quinlan said.“During the boom years only a little over a third of all lending was to productive investments. The need to channel investment into productive enterprises is central to creating sustainable employment. The Government now has an opportunity to both save jobs and kick start a State Investment Bank.”At a meeting last night union representatives met with management which outlined its proposals including that 40% of the workforce will be made redundant over the next 18 months, while 10% of the loan book will be out-sourced and the banking licence returned to the State. Following discussions with their members, both unions will hold talks with management and the Government in the coming days. Among their priorities will be to ensure that any job losses are achieved on a strictly voluntary basis. SIPTU represents 200 members and UNITE workers in ACC bank.