It’s ironic that almost to the day the worst pay deal in living memory became effective, Accord started talking about the cost-of-living crisis, inflation and the bank’s profits. It now says it wants the bank to “make a one-off discretionary payment”. Does Accord not realise that it’s just agreed a pay deal which will make every Lloyds member of staff worse off?
Only Accord signed that pay deal, no one else would touch it with a barge pole, and its members have reacted badly, with many leaving at its lack of backbone. It’s now desperately trying to change the narrative by talking about what it’s going to do next year (nothing, again) and asking the bank for a one-off discretionary bonus. There is more chance of a politician admitting that he attended an Abba birthday party in Parliament than Lloyds paying a one-off bonus to staff. It’s classic displacement activity by Accord. Blame someone else for your own mess.
Meanwhile, the Bank of England has just announced that the consumer price index (CPI) measure of inflation could be 10.25% by the end of the year. The retail price index (RPI) – the measure of inflation used by unions when negotiating pay deals – is likely to be 13% by the end of the year. It’s currently 9%.
Accord’s pay deal with the bank was worth a lousy 3.6%.
When we refused to sign the bank’s recognition agreement we did so, in part, because if one union reached an agreement with the bank, on pay for example, that would have been binding on all the unions regardless of whether they, or their members, agreed with it or not. And not only that, we wouldn’t have been allowed to criticise any agreement. We knew full well that Accord, with its cosy relationship with Lloyds, couldn’t be trusted, and we’ve been proved right year after year. The majority of Unite members who opposed this year’s pay deal in its own ballot, have been sold down the river by Accord. And Unite can’t comment on Accord’s rubbish pay deal because it signed the recognition agreement.
If Not Now, When?
What’s clear is that Accord has been captured by Lloyds and its incapable of acting independently. When the bank’s pay offer was announced in November, Accord did everything possible to avoid a dispute with the bank including:
- Delaying its ballot because it knew the bank’s proposals would be unacceptable to its members back in November. It wanted to kick the issue into the long grass, let emotions die down and hold the ballot when it knew it would have the best chance of getting a “yes” vote. So, it waited until bonuses were announced. In previous years, Accord has always balloted its members immediately after the bank’s pay proposals are announced.
- Amazingly Accord’s leaders carefully avoided giving a recommendation on the bank’s pay proposals (something you might expect leaders to do) although they put a very positive spin on them. Accord says that it’s for their members to decide the union’s policy but that’s just a cop out. The real reason Accord’s leaders didn’t lead was that they knew it was a rubbish pay offer but to campaign against it would upset Accord’s financial relationship with the bank. That financial relationship comes at a cost, and that cost is independence. It simply can’t afford to disagree with Lloyds or challenge it in any way.
- Cynically agreeing the timing of the announcement to increase the minimum pay increase for grade A-C staff to £1000 from £500. That increase was decided back in November, but the bank held it back until the announcement of the ballots from Accord and Unite to persuade grade A-C staff to support the pay deal.
- The Accord General Secretary encouraging his members in a video message to vote for the deal because Lloyds wasn’t going to offer any more. Accord had given up the fight before the first shot was fired.
Members will recall we proposed that all the unions should ballot their members at the same time and that we should all campaign against the bank’s pay offer. If Accord and Unite had taken up our invitation, then we might have been able to put further pressure on Lloyds to come up with a better offer. Both unions refused to engage in joint ballots, and we are now left with a rubbish pay deal that’s been implemented because one union was too scared to fight for its members.
On the figures Accord reported, there are 12,000 Accord members who either couldn’t be bothered to vote – because they knew the ballot was stitched up – or voted against the pay deal. Those union members must decide whether they remain in a union that’s incapable of opposing anything Lloyds does or join a union that’s prepared to take the fight to the bank by whatever means is necessary.
Members with any questions can contact the Union’s Bedford Office on 01234 262868 (Choose Option 1).
If you know of any Accord members in your branch or office, forward them a copy of this Newsletter to read.