That’s what a grade D member on the front-line since day 1 said yesterday.
Some of the very people who deserve it the most are getting nothing. It’s not about the money for grades D and E members of staff, it’s much more important than that. It’s about recognition. And in not recognising their collective efforts and ignoring everything they have done since the start of the coronavirus outbreak, the bank should be ashamed of itself.
What we find equally disgusting is the fact that the two in-house staff unions – who between them get significant financial support from Lloyds – agreed to the bank’s proposals. The biggest recipient of the bank’s financial largesse, Accord, said in its latest communication that the recognition award: “…comes at a significant cost to the business … and … the dire economic climate that all businesses find themselves in.” The bank paid a fine of £64 million to the FCA last week for not treating customers fairly. The bank could have paid every front-line member of staff £1,391 with that money. And whilst grades D and E members where on the front-line – risking their own lives and putting their families at greater risk – ‘Two Pensions Osorio’ was securing for himself a guaranteed bonus pot worth millions at the Annual General Meeting (see below). And in one of the biggest understatements of the year, Accord then says: “We are, of course aware of the disappointment that our members in grades D and E might feel”. If Accord knew that grades D and E members of staff would be disappointed why did it agree to the award in the first place? Wait, we know the answer to that. It’s because the bank funds a big part of its operation. He who pays the piper calls the tune.
Grade D and E members of staff on the front-line have been the backbone of the bank’s response to COVID 19. They are the first to open branches in the morning and the last to close them at night. And the vast majority of them have been leading from the front even when the bank didn’t have proper social distancing guidelines in place or proper PPE equipment.
In the last few days a number of branches have been visited by police officers because of the lack of social distancing at external ATM machines. In one case the branch in question was asked to switch the middle ATM machine off to allow customers to maintain the 2-metre rule. Local management shouldn’t be put in the position of having to justify the bank’s social distancing policy to police officers.
In its guidance to local management the bank has said that it is acceptable to breach the social distancing rules because customers at ATM machines are standing side-by-side. But that’s not always the case and the side-by-side rule is for those offices that physically can’t social distance or for people using public transport. In its guidance for employers, the Government says: “Where social distancing guidelines cannot be followed in full in relation to a particular activity, businesses should consider whether that activity needs to continue for the business to operate.” The bank shouldn’t be trying to game the social distancing rules for competitive advantage it should be doing everything possible to adhere to them in all circumstances. Closing down some ATM machines – especially at a time when most shops are not taking cash anyway – is not a major inconvenience to customers.
Many members will have missed this because lockdown measures were dominating the news at the time but more than a third (36%) of Lloyds investors voted against the new bonus plans for Mr Antonio Horta-Osorio. Opposition to Mr Horta-Osorio’s new bonus arrangements came from the influential shareholder advisory group, ISS, who said that whilst his total pay would reduce the value of bonuses would be more certain in future. According to the Guardian, ISS questioned: “whether the discount [reduction in total earnings] was sufficient given the higher probability of receiving the bonuses”.
When it comes to absolute total shareholders return, which formed a big part of the old arrangement, Mr Horta-Osorio has not achieved this measure since 2016. Under the new scheme that level of under-performance may not matter anymore. In effect, it’s going to be made easier for Mr. Horta-Osorio to earn substantial bonuses.
And remember, when all this was being discussed and voted on grades D and E members of staff were dealing with a pandemic the likes of which we have never seen before. What did they get for their efforts? Nothing.
Members with any comments or issues, they would like us to deal with should contact the Union’s Advice Team on 01234 262868 (choose Option 1).