When the bank asked about union membership on the last engagement survey we knew it was up to no good. We decided not to say anything because we knew the survey would show that we are still the largest trade union in Lloyds Banking Group as well as being the only one that’s independent! It appears the bank’s senior management team were so alarmed by the survey results that they are now increasing the support it gives to Accord and Unite, the two HR supported unions in the bank, to aid efforts to increase their membership in specific areas of the bank.
In the North East for example the bank’s survey revealed that Accord’s membership is virtually non-existent, despite five years of support, that Lloyds has directed Accord to despatch recruiters to the area and told branch managers that they mustn’t utter the name BTU in case people join us! This tells the story.
The reason why we are still the largest independent trade union in Lloyds is because our members understand that when the bank offers a union support – financial, technical or logistical – it comes at a price. And that price is the loss of independence and we refuse to give that up, under any circumstances. When a union crosses that line and takes a bank’s money, like Accord and Unite, the bank expects something in return and that will inevitably be at the expense of Accord and Unite’s members.
We can see how this corrupt relationship works by looking at a few recent examples including:
- Accord and Unite accepting a pay settlement which, when adjusted for inflation, will result in the average member of staff being worse off. Both unions accepted that pay settlement at a time when they knew that bonuses were going to be massively reduced by the bank because of conduct risk issues outside the control of most staff. Accord and Unite have said nothing and done nothing on this important issue.
- Knowing that large numbers of staff would want to challenge their bonus awards, Accord and Unite agreed to replace the grievance procedure with a new process that doesn’t allow staff to be represented at meetings and makes the bank judge and jury when determining individual cases. To sell your members down the river so completely for money would be unacceptable to any union but not Accord and Unite.
- Refusing to deal with the biggest pay issue facing Lloyds staff – salary progression – because the two unions are scared of upsetting their paymaster, the bank. Under the agreement reached by Accord and Unite it will take staff in grades A-C, of which there are 40,000 in Lloyds, up to 10 years to be paid the rate for the job. That should be unacceptable to all unions but Accord and Unite can’t say anything because the bank provides them with a range of financial assistance including staff, office accommodation, cars and mobile phones.
We are a trade union that serves only one master, our members. We have never comprised our principles and never accepted anything from the bank. And that’s why the bank is now doing everything it can to help Accord and Unite recruit more members.
Staff in Lloyds have a legal right to join a union of their choice or not to join a union at all. Equally, members are under no obligation whatsoever to discuss their choice of union membership with anyone.
If members are approached to discuss their union membership, even by their line managers, we suggest that they politely decline to do so. If the person persists, then members should contact the Bedford Office on 01234 262868 (Choose Option1).