Yesterday’s communication from Sharon Doherty, People and Places Director, was full of the usual management hyperbole as she told staff that Lloyds has been doing some “fantastic work” on flexibility in “fantastic offices” and that “we are excited”. The comment that Lloyds will be working with “our friends in the trade unions” is the biggest hoot of all. These are presumably the same two unions that Lloyds either ignored, walked over or got on side three weeks ago!
A cynic might well comment that yes, many people are excited but not in the way they would like to be. All in all the communication was not worth the paper it was written on and one cannot avoid the comment that this shambles was avoidable. Managers who have even a passing understanding of their employees shouldn’t need “leaning in”, surveys or focus groups: the issues are quite clear and were clear a month ago.
One member told us that as a profit-making organisation Lloyds has to run efficiently and by implication that change of different types is inevitable. In general terms we agree of course but no business works well when the energies of key people are diverted by ham-fisted management!
What Members Want
As one might expect members fall into distinct categories: those who welcome office working, although perhaps not every day; those who don’t for reasons of location, cost or convenience and those who can’t work from an office for personal or family medical reasons or disabilities. A significant number of people fall into that category.
All three groups may need advice and possibly representation because ultimately, if push comes to shove, as it will in some cases, all roads are going to lead back to employment law.
We will be the only union prepared to fight cases at the Employment Tribunal.
A very large number of members completed our pre-advice questionnaire designed to help us get on the front foot in giving complicated advice to many people at more or less the same time. We expect to have advised all members who have contacted us, by 19th May, in most cases with written advice.
The survey has confirmed what we knew, which is that there is a massive range of personal circumstances which prevent the people concerned working from offices. In many cases members have clear contractual rights that preclude a forced return. I urge members to involve us now rather than wait until a problem exists.
Our questionnaire is still open and will be for the next few weeks. We strongly advise members not to complete Bank surveys on their personal circumstances without speaking to us first.