Lloyds staff who have signed up for the new Connect telephony teams are being dragooned into ‘compulsory’ Accord recruitment seminars this morning designed to encourage them to join the Bank’s in-pocket Union.

Some of the members who have contacted us already say that they have been given the clear impression that Accord membership will be compulsory in Connect.

The Law

First of all, it’s unlawful to force someone to join or not join a trade union. So there’s no question of membership of Accord, or BTU for that matter, being compulsory.

It follows from this that staff cannot be forced to attend any Accord recruitment seminars.

Lloyds and Accord will be careful here to operate in the shadows because they know the law as well as we do and everything will be done by nods, winks and spreading disinformation. Impressions will be given but no one will put pen to paper.

The Motive

As my colleague Mark Brown has pointed out repeatedly, Accord is well and truly in the Bank’s pocket. Their deal with Lloyds, spoken or otherwise, is that they agree to everything and Lloyds gives them a cosy billet.

The evidence of the nature of the Lloyds/Accord relationship is there for everyone to see dating back to 2010.

Perhaps the starkest evidence has been the way in which Lloyds uses Accord to help force staff to change their working hours against their will. We believe that’s the motive here.

Accord members in Connect will find that the next step is to try to force through unpalatable working hour changes and that Accord will, as they always do, reach some sort of agreement with the Bank that delivers exactly what the Bank wants.

Protection In Connect

Ultimately protecting yourself against unacceptable working conditions including unreasonable working hours is going to be hard for an individual on his or her own.

We’re confident that Accord members will get the same weak support they always get; unsurprising given that Accord will have agreed not to argue about the Bank’s plans. Their members will find themselves in a weak position, isolated and with little or no support, in an uncertain new structure.

I leave members and non-members to draw the obvious conclusion about what to do here!

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