Members won’t be be fooled by the headline figures produced by Lloyds and their in-house staff unions. They’ve seen it all before. It was a pay squeeze last year and that’s set to continue for the next two years for many Lloyds staff.

The bank’s two-year pay deal gives staff in grades A-E a minimum increase of £1500 or 4%, whichever is the greater for 2024 and 2025. Staff in grades A-D will get a £500 cash payment in December 2023 if the two-year pay deal is agreed. Staff in grades F & G will get average pay increases of 3.5% in 2024 and 2025.

The bank’s announcements on pay are getting earlier and earlier every year. Last year’s pay deal, which saw the vast majority of staff get below inflation pay rises, was only effective in April, just 6 months ago. Yet, the bank and staff unions are trying to push through a two-year pay deal at breakneck speed. Why? What are they trying to hide or, more importantly, trying to influence? The cynic in me says the bank will probably launch its latest engagement survey in the next few weeks. It will be hoped that an announcement on pay will divert attention away from the imposition of reduced redundancy terms for heritage staff and the fiasco that saw tens of thousands of staff forced back to offices for two-days a week for no reasons whatsoever. The in-house staff unions also agreed to those changes but they didn’t ballot their members then.

There will be no engagement ‘bounce’ for Ms Doherty and Mr Nunn. Lloyds staff are not that gullible.

The Bonus Bribe

The bank knows that many of its lowest graded staff are struggling financially during this never-ending cost of living crisis because we’ve communicated about it many times before. As part of its two-year pay deal the bank is proposing to give an additional £500 cash payment for those staff in grades A-D, which will be paid in December. However, that £500 will only be paid if Accord and Unite members agree to the two-year pay deal. If they reject it, then staff will get nothing in December.

That kind of financial bribe (blackmail might be a better description) is completely unacceptable. Why would Accord and Unite agree to that?

The bank says that the £500 cash payment for grades A-D staff is to recognise “the immediate cost of living challenges”. If that’s really why it’s being offered, why link it to the two-year pay deal? Those staff either deserve it or they don’t. Lloyds is effectively blackmailing its lowest paid staff to accept the deal.

It’s cynical and underhand.

Lloyds Has Got Form

Lloyds had got form when it comes to two-year pay deals. We agreed a two-year pay deal some few years ago but Lloyds reneged on it when things got tough in the second year. So, what’s to stop Lloyds doing it again? The answer is, nothing.

In any event, is a two-year pay deal in the best interests of staff or the bank? Lloyds get certainty of its cost base over the next two-years of its transformation programme, when it’s got to deliver £1.5 billion of business growth. Interestingly, in seeking to justify the deal, Ms Doherty quotes the Bank of England inflation projections, when it suits her, but she never mentioned inflation was running at 12%.

If the last few years have taught us anything it’s that uncertainty is a fact of life. All the forecasts about inflation and interest rates were wrong in the run up to cost of living crisis and there are no guarantees that those headwinds are not going to come back and bite us in the next few years. Equally, the political landscape is changing rapidly and who knows what’s going to happen in 2024, let alone 2025.

The price of certainty for Lloyds staff could be inflation rising again with staff stuck on a two-year pay deal that leaves then significantly worse off.

And let’s be honest, Lloyds proposed the two-year pay deal because it suits it more than two separate deals. That’s a good enough reason for rejecting it anyway. The staff unions should have held out for more rather than accepting the first deal on the table.

We will be producing a further analysis of the bank’s pay proposals next week. In the meantime, members with any questions can contact the Union’s Bedford Office on 01234 262868 (Choose Option 1).

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