Unite dramatically told their members last week that they were holding urgent talks with the Bank following Charlie Nunn’s announcements on hybrid working and compressed working hours. In its communication to members, Unite said it: “Indicated to LBG that we would be going to our members and taking action over the recent announcements on compressed hours. The bank has asked us to pause this immediately to engage in talks”. We have underlined the important words. Accord also took part in those talks.
Those last-ditch talks have now taken place and guess what? Lloyds has said that it’s not changing its position. In response to that major snub, Unite’s so called taking action, which it heralded last week, is to launch a collective grievance. That’s it. You couldn’t make this stuff up. And you don’t need to take a collective grievance to carry out an industrial action ballot. Unite can do that now but it won’t. Charlie Nunn and Sharon Doherty must be quaking in their boots. If you can’t persuade the Bank to change its position when you’ve signed a Partnership Agreement, a collective grievance is not going to achieve anything other than kicking the issue into the long grass, hoping it goes away. And that’s what Unite and Accord want. Unite and Accord have got themselves into this problem – through weakness and financial dependency on the Bank – and when big issues like this happen, they can do nothing to protect staff.
Accord knows that, which is why it’s staying silent on the issue. It’s said nothing of substance since the announcement. As we said in our last Newsletter, the Partnership Agreement is fundamentally flawed because the Bank always get its own way. We’ve seen it all before on contracts, pensions and redundancy pay and more and this is how the Bank gets a return on its investment in Accord and Unite. Their members are being conned; left, right and centre.
Now it wouldn’t surprise us if Lloyds offers Accord and Unite some minor changes to the two policies. If that happens, and we don’t think it will, then those changes will be because of the unpopularity of the policies and not because of anything those two organisations have done.
The action which Accord and Unite need to take now is to renounce their Partnership Agreement with Lloyds and work with us on stopping Lloyds from forcing staff back to work and ripping up compressed working agreements. Only by working with us and taking proper action can we defeat these policies. If Accord and Unite aren’t prepared to abandon that agreement, staff will know that they are only interested in preserving their cosy relationship with the Bank.
They are after all, as Sharon Doherty said, Lloyds’ “friends”!
The Bank’s survey on flexible working, widely denounced by staff as being rigged, will be the subject of out next Newsletter. In the meantime, members with any questions on this Newsletter should contact the Union’s Advice Team on 01234 262868 (choose Option 1).
MEMBERS SHOULD PASS THIS NEWSLETTER ON TO THEIR COLLEAGUES SO THEY TOO CAN BENEFIT FROM THE ONLY INDEPENDENT TRADE UNION IN LLOYDS & HALIFAX