Welcome to the August 2023 edition of My Accord magazine. Hear from Ged and get the latest headline news.
The 2023 pay settlements negotiated by Accord in both Lloyds Banking Group and TSB in 2023 were strongly supported by members and the cost-of-living payments really appreciated by those who received them.
We were pleased to work with Lloyds Banking Group to deliver the changes to pay ranges and zones in July 2023. These changes accommodate the consolidation of Flex allowances and part of the Group Performance Share (bonus) opportunity (for grades D, E, F & G) into base pay with effect from 1 July 2023 and generally provide ‘headroom’ for pay awards in 2024.
But it’s a long way to go until the next pay review in April 2024. On 26 July, LBG published what it described as a ‘robust’ financial performance for the first half of the year which lifted pre-tax profits to just below the £4bn that analysts had forecast. Shareholder dividends were increased by 15% as a result.
The Group Chief Executive said: “We know that rising interest rates, cost of living pressures and an uncertain economic outlook are proving challenging for many people and businesses.”
Recognising this reality for many members, we’ve put forward a pay claim calling for:
On 27 July, TSB’s Chief Executive Robin Bulloch announced what he described as a “strong” set of results for the bank in the first half of 2023. The statutory profit of £147.9m was more than 40% higher than the comparable period in 2022.
Whilst welcoming the progress that the bank continues to make, Accord’s Ged Nichols drew attention to the fact that the cost-of-living crisis hasn’t only affected customers but staff too. He said:
We’re looking forward to celebrating TSB’s first 10 years but we can’t ignore the backcloth of continuing high inflation and interest rate increases on members’ living standards.
We’re therefore asking TSB to enter into joint talks on reward through 2023 & 2024 as soon as possible.
Of course, in both banks the claims deal with the broad pay claims. But within each organisation, there a range of other factors that members want to be addressed too. Some of these, such as reviewing the roles, responsibilities and rewards for branch staff have been outstanding for too long.
We want to thank all members who have given us feedback on their issues and concerns. We’ll do our very best in the coming talks and no decisions will be made on pay by the union without consulting members first.
Any further input can be sent to [email protected]
LBG’s decision to bring thousands of colleagues back into offices for a minimum of two days per week, or 40% or more of their working time, and to remove legacy compressed working arrangements from most staff must be one of the most disruptive actions taken by LBG in its short history.
We’ve been working with thousands of members to help them navigate through the key steps involved in transitioning to the new ways of working. And we’re reaching the point when more formal challenges may be necessary to protect those colleagues who can’t change or choose not to for valid and reasonable reasons.
You can read about the discussions we’ve been involved in and our latest advice about how to handle 121 discussions and beyond here.
The negative impact this whole episode has had on colleague morale and trust in the business is palpable. This is, in part, down to LBG’s failure to convince staff why it sees the need for these changes and what difference it will make. Corporate speak like, ‘growing our business to achieve our purpose and helping Britain prosper’ just isn’t enough.
After the initial announcements in April that led colleagues to flood the Interchange with negative comments, LBG has put a lot more effort into trying to get their reasons for change across. And for some, it worked. Take-up of the new Flexibility Works options is gradually increasing but, at a time when the UK Government is making flexible working more accessible** and other employers are improving their flexible working options, it really is difficult to view LBG’s 9-5, 5 days per week way of working as anything other than retrograde.
It's not our job to defend or explain LBG’s reasons but we do understand the real challenges facing the banks and their need to compete in a rapidly changing world.
It’s not easy to reconcile published expert opinion that time is running out for traditional banks like LBG when it announces £1.2 bn after tax profits at the half year. But it would also be foolhardy to ignore the fact that BigTech companies like Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon dwarf the largest global banks with their market value and spending power, and they have the financial services sector firmly in their sights.
Meanwhile, smaller FinTech companies have rapid and low-cost access to newer cloud-based technologies and are developing innovative, best-in-class solutions that address several of the pain points that are costly for traditional banks like LBG to deal with and create friction in the customer’s digital experience. And of course, they don’t have the huge overhead costs of premises, people and legacy systems.
Whilst we might not like being told that established banks that don’t respond to this new competition face a perilous future – we can’t ignore it. Our members’ livelihoods are at stake. It’s our job to do our very best to support you through change programmes, like this one, to keep you in secure jobs, to advise you of your rights and represent you internally and externally if necessary. That’s one thing that won’t ever change.
** We followed the Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Act 2023 as it’s passed through the various stages and are pleased that it has now been granted Royal Assent. The Act introduces some changes to the current regime for making a flexible working request which will come into force on a day to be appointed, most likely in 2024.
My Accord is the magazine for Accord members. If you have a story, question, letter or anything you think would interest readers, please get in touch: [email protected]
Ged Nichols | [email protected] | 07973 642 592
Niamh Ní Mhaoileoin | [email protected]
[email protected] | 0118 9341 808 | Freepost ACCORD UNION