The retail bank is going to be pushing staff for greater flexibility over the next few weeks.

In a note to staff, Jo Harris, Managing Director, Lloyds Bank and Bank of Scotland said: “Our current working patterns and ways of working mean that we don’t always have the right people available at the right time or in the right places”. It’s clear from that, what’s coming next. Although, to be fair, Jo Harris goes onto say: “I want to be clear that nobody will be expected to make any changes that they are not comfortable with”. We’ll be holding her to that commitment.

From the 19th July, line managers will start having one-to-one conversations with all staff to discuss their flexibility. The vast majority of line managers will deal with this issue sensitively and will not try to pressurise staff to change their working hours. However, staff will be asked to justify again why they can’t change their hours of work or working patterns. We would urge members to contact the Union’s Bedford Office on 01234 262868 (Chose option 1) for advice before attending meetings.

Free Trade Agreements

Affinity has been invited by the Government to join the Trade Union Advisory Group (TUAG) looking at free trade agreements.

The recent Australia Free Trade Agreement is the first free trade deal that’s been negotiated by the Government from scratch. All the other agreements have been rollover agreements of those formerly in place through Britain’s membership of the EU.

As the Department for International Trade (DIT) gears up for negotiations with countries in Latin America and the USA, it set up the TUAG to provide advice to the DIT on protecting and advancing the interests of workers as part of the UK’s trade policy. The Group discusses DIT’s broader long-term trade policy objectives and allows for informed discussions on these priorities. The Group gives trade union leaders a direct audience with DIT to highlight the priorities of their members.

The Group, which meets monthly, advises the DIT but is not a decision-making body and does not set government policy.

Members with any questions or comments on the advisory group or free trade generally, should email me at or they can contact us on 01234 262868 (Chose option 1).

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