This is your chance to have a say about the things that matter to you.
My union 'insurance policy'
If you’re thinking about joining Accord, don’t hesitate. Think of it as an insurance policy… no one wants to find themselves in a situation where you’d need to claim because it means something dreadful has happened. But if the worst does happen, you have that insurance in place.
After working all my adult life and only half a dozen years to go before retirement, I found myself plunged into a situation that I would never have imagined. Unfortunately, it doesn’t matter how strong you think you are or what moral stance you take or how unequivocally right you believe you are, you simply cannot take your employer on, on your own.
This is where your union ‘insurance policy’ comes in… they have years of experience dealing with large employers and they have your back all the way, down to what you can think, say or put in writing, the protocol, procedures and jargon. I would never have been able to afford the legal advice but I had my insurance policy and they were wonderful.
My situation was extremely stressful but the union was there for me every step of the way. Without the help and support from Accord I would never have got the outcome that I did.
I have since moved on to new pastures but my insurance policy will come with me. So in this world of constant complaints, on this I have no complaints at all and would like to take this opportunity to say thank you to Accord and all your union employees for all you did for me. A special thank you to Krisna for being the best union rep I could have asked for, his understanding, patience and knowledge and for being strong for me when I wasn’t.
Without members Accord will not have the strength or firepower to stand with you when you need them most so this goes out to ALL of you working… join Accord and stand strong together. A union is only as strong as its members so if you aren’t already a member, speaking from experience - don’t delay, join today!
My name is Chetan Gandhi. I was born in Kenya East Africa and came over to England in 1969 with my parents, brother and sister. We settled in Manchester where I completed my studies and started my career in banking.
During the 1960s when I was around 10-years-old, my parents encouraged me to visit the bank with them. I loved watching cashiers serve customers so patiently and was truly inspired by the whole baking environment.
After completing my studies in 1976, I wrote letters to various banks looking for a job. My very first reply came from Trustee Savings Bank (TSB) where I was called for an interview and offered a job as a cashier. My family were overwhelmed and so was I… my dream finally came true. More so because I was the first lady to work in the bank from our Gandhi Community in UK. I began my career at a sub-branch in Kingsway Manchester and was highly recognised by local managers and area directors.
TSB was the very first bank to have introduced Online Real Time Banking (OLRTB) – the computers were huge and noisy but nevertheless visitors from all over came to the see the systems (the PBS systems we now use!)
My most prestigious moment was in 1977 when I was nominated to go and help out in a newly purchased TSB property – the Bank of England building on King Street in Manchester. It was a very old, large traditional building with grand chandeliers and cashiers would serve from large cubicle counters surrounded by bullet proof glass. You were even welcomed by a security guard!
I married in 1978 and left Manchester to join my partner in Luton. I re-applied for a job at the local TSB branch which I was offered and had such a shock on my first day… everything was paper-based! No computers on site, cashiers serving cash from small cupboards. The branch was buzzing! There were 20 counters and nearly 45 members of staff with part-timers covering lunch breaks.
We may have been busy as the only branch in Luton but we never failed or missed out on having fun! In 1979 by walking and participating in ‘Bake Off’, we raised money for the very first baby unit to be installed in Luton and Dunstable Hospital. And when Carnival came to Luton, we organised a lorry from Whitbread and all dressed up as St Trinians!
The 1980s was a very interesting, exciting and challenging decade. Our branch had a refurb, we had our first ATM installed (customers were too scared to go near it) and the shares of TSB Group plc were floated on the stock market.
In 1994, I was based at Dunstable branch. My day would start at 5.30am… by then, I had three beautiful daughters aged 12, 5 and 3. I’d get them ready, drop them to the childminders and catch two buses to get to work. How did I do it?! It was challenging but the team I worked with were very supportive and caring.
In 1995, Lloyds merged with TSB. We had to take part in lots of training and were given the opportunity to visit and work with staff from the opposite bank. I enjoyed interacting with Lloyds staff and learning their systems. We constantly had music by The Corrs playing in the background at both banks. It was an exciting time!
By 2001 I was transferred to Dunstable Lloyds branch. I helped manage to resolve a number of issues that needed urgent attention which was a very proud moment for me. In 2002, I moved to St Albans branch where I took on a new role as Customer Service Co-ordinator. I was offered a secondment role to run Mashaslwick branch which was challenging but really interesting. I spent over a decade at St Albans before transferring to Hitchin as a full-time Customer Service Assistant.
In 2012, LBG sponsored the Olympic Games being held in London, and during that time I had the opportunity to cheer Queen Elizabth during her visit to Hutchin by standing outside the branch. I also witnessed the Olympic torch being carried through Luton town as part of its relay journey around Britain.
In 2015, I was transferred to Leagrave and Riddy Lane where the branches operated manually. And in 2021 – 2022, I was transferred back to Luton where I had the opportunity to work alongside a few old colleagues whilst getting to know some of the new, younger colleagues which was really enjoyable.
The year the Queen celebrated her Platinum 70 years in service, I celebrated my 46th
year of employment in the banking sector. During my 46 years with the bank, I have taken on challenges, learned many things and made friends and memories that will stay with me forever. I’ve achieved so much - both in work and in my personal life. And the time has come for me to retire and enjoy my time with my family and fulfil my dream of touring the world.
I would like to thank the bank for the numerous opportunities for professional and personal development that has been provided to me over the years. Whilst I’m looking forward to enjoying my retirement, I will miss the work and my colleagues a great deal and hope they stay in touch.
A legend of the North West
He was an avid Manchester City fan (never mind) and was always helping out the British Heart Foundation. You would often see him on his weekend off with a charity tin in his hand! Bob was a very highly respected and liked man.
Sandra Lewis, Former Colleague
Robert Harry Squire, a retired staff member who worked for the Halifax for over 50 years and an Accord member for around 34 years, sadly passed away on Sunday 16 October.
Bob’s colleagues wanted a special mention to him in the Accord magazine as he worked with so many people past and present.
I knew Bob very well – even before I worked for Accord. He was a lovely bloke and a real character. Really sorry to hear the news. He was a legend of the Halifax in the North West.
Ged Nichols, Accord General Secretary
Halifax share dealing
For years I have been paying for this service which charges a fee twice a year whether or not it is used and no matter the value of the shares, nominal or actual. To my mind this is usurious, should be stopped and all fees charged should be returned. They agreed to stop my payments and reimburse the last two payments, to a charity of their choosing.
All Halifax pensioners should be alerted to this iniquity and all who do not make use of the service should cancel and be reimbursed.
Get in touch
This is your chance to have a say about the things that matter to you. If you want to make a point in a future edition of My Accord, get in touch. Simply email your letters to: [email protected].
We reserve editorial rights and letters do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the union. We don’t publish letters received anonymously, but if you want us to withhold your name, let us know.