Lloyds has said that: “colleagues will work from one branch only, unless needed as ‘critical resource’, to open and run another branch”. The reality for many staff is quite different.
We’re getting a large number of telephone calls from members who are being asked to cover for colleagues in other branches who are self-isolating. In some cases, members have been asked to cover two or three different branches in one week. And that situation is only going to get worse, with the virus spreading rapidly in some areas of the country.
The bank’s policy is creating too much stress and anxiety, and it needs to accept that some branches will close during the lockdown. It can’t be avoided. Forcing staff – who are anxious about their own health, and the safety of their families – to move is not the answer. There is also suspicion that staff are being moved just to keep the best performing branches open, especially on Saturdays. Equally, staff are also concerned that being forced to move between branches will become the ‘new normal’ once the pandemic is over.
The bank needs to revisit this policy quickly.
In our last Newsletter, we said that Lloyds stands accused of breaching the Coronavirus Health Protection Regulations by refusing to change its retail offering to customers during the current lockdown. A copy of the letters we have sent to the Mr. Nikhil Rathi, Chief Executive of the FCA and Rt Hon. Alok Sharma, Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy can be found here.
The Lloyd’s 2021 pay award is going to be more important than ever before. The bank has already made it clear that bonuses will be reduced this year, although a statutory profit after tax of £1billion + should enable to it to pay full bonuses to junior members staff at least. Whilst the Executive Directors and members of GEC have given up their annual bonus awards for 2020, (although they wouldn’t be getting bonuses anyway) they have all made significant ‘windfall gains’ on their fixed share awards. All of them could actually end up doubling their money because of the pandemic! We will discuss that in a separate Newsletter.
We hope Lloyds will use next year’s pay round as an opportunity to drive staff pay closer to the rate for their job. Anything else would be totally unacceptable. Equally, we hope that the union that likes to say ‘Yes’ to everything – Accord – holds out for a little longer than the 30 seconds it takes the bank to make its first pay offer.
We are also aware that Accord’s membership levels are falling so fast that it’s resorting to bribing its members to recruit their colleagues by offering them a one-off payment of £15 or £150 if they recruit 10 members. We suspect that Lloyds will be paying for this incentive, either directly or indirectly.
Members who are approached by Accord recruiters should very politely decline the offer. There is a reason why Accord’s membership levels are falling and that’s because it’s in the bank’s back pocket. Lloyds staff want an independent trade union that will speak truth to power. Not an organisation that runs for the hills at the first sign of trouble.
Members with any questions should contact the Union’s Advice Team on 01234 262868 (Choose Option 1).