DUBLIN, July 24 Some customers of Irish Life &
Permanent IPM.I shouted at branch staff and in one case spat
on an employee on Friday after the bancassurer said it would
raise mortgage rates, a union representing the workers said.
Irish banks, once the darling of the "Celtic Tiger" economy,
have been the focus of public ire since a spectacular property
bust and a slew of scandals left taxpayers footing a
multibillion euro bill to save the industry.
Irish Life & Permanent, one of Ireland's largest mortgage
providers, triggered a wave of criticism with plans to raise its
variable interest rates by 0.5 percentage points next week.
"It has been a difficult day for staff," said Colm Quinlan
of the UNITE trade union, which represents over 1000 branch
workers at Irish Life's banking arm, permanent tsb.
"We have had a number of reports of intimidation today,"
A spokesman for the bancaussurer said they had no reports of
any staff being attacked or abused.
Many Irish people are already struggling to repay large
mortgages amid ballooning dole queues and rising taxes.
Finance Minister Brian Lenihan said he was disappointed by
Permanent TSB's decision but rebuffed a call from one leading
trade unionist that the government withdraw its guarantee on
bank liabilities for any lender that raises rates.
(Reporting by Carmel Crimmins)