Some senior members of the bank are telling staff they won’t be able to use the grievance procedure if they disagree with their end of year bonus awards. Bonus payments are discretionary and therefore the grievance procedure doesn’t apply according to the bank’s logic. What’s worrying is that Accord and Unite have agreed with the bank’s approach.
Under the new group bonus scheme staff who disagree with their award can raise the issue with their line manager. If they are still not happy, they can raise the issue with their line manager’s, manager. However, because those two meetings are informal chats, staff can’t be accompanied by a trade union representative. The bank is trying to reduce the number of disputes by trampling on our members’ rights and making it almost impossible for them to challenge their bonus awards. What is the point of only speaking to the two people who made the decision about the bonus award in the first place? Equally, the relationship between line manager and individual is not equal and some members of staff need help in formulating their arguments and articulating those in meetings. The grievance procedure, in addition to allowing staff to be represented, provides for an appeal process which means that the issue can dealt with impartially by someone who has not previously been involved in the case.
The Grievance Procedure Is Contractual
Whether you are on a harmonised contract or on an old-style contract of employment, the grievance procedure forms part of your terms and conditions of employment. You can rely on that procedure in any dispute with the bank.
The grievance procedure says: “It applies if a colleague feels they have been treated unfairly or inappropriately in relation to work”. It goes on to say: “It is inevitable that on occasions we will want to address problems or concerns at work. It could be anything…………..”. The ACAS Code of Practice on disciplinary and grievance procedures says: “Grievances are concerns, problems or complaints that employees raise with their employers”. The fact that some of the issues which staff may wish to complain about may be non-contractual or discretionary is irrelevant and that’s clear from both the bank’s own policy and the ACAS Code.
The bank has simply got it wrong and if it attempts to stop our members from enforcing their contractual rights then we will ask the Court to decide who is right. If the bank gets away with this what’s to stop them ignoring the job security policy or disciplinary policy. Equally, we expect that they will try to introduce the same kind of informal approach with pay increases when the new approach to pay is announced later this year.
Flexible Pensions – But Don’t Ask For A Quote.
“Did you know that the Group offers a Flexible Pension Option? This allows you to start taking your pension from age 55 and still continue to work. The amount you can take is subject to certain statutory minimum benefit requirements set by the government. If you’re interested in taking flexible retirement, you can request a quotation from your Scheme administrator”.
A number of members have contacted their Scheme administrators to ask for quotes to enable them to review their retirement options. It seems that you can ask for a quote but that doesn’t mean that one will be provided. Members have been told the administrator can’t provide projections more than 12 months in advance. The bank is constantly telling its customers about the importance of retirement planning and its latest ad campaign is about discussing the ‘M-word’. The fact that the administrator of the bank’s pension schemes can’t produce online flexible pension quotes enabling Lloyds staff to discuss those important issues with their families is simply unacceptable. Everyone accepts that there will be caveats about the factors used when making calculations but the bank needs to be more customer focused when dealing with its own staff. The calculations used to produce such quotes are standardised and can easily be converted into an on-line modeller. It’s not rocket science!
Members with any questions can contact the Union’s Advice Team on 01234 262868.