When the Judge ruled in our favour on the ‘Non-Signer’ Employment Tribunal case, he drew attention to an extract from a report given to Lloyds Bank’s GEC in 2009, just before the Bank began the process of harmonisation of contracts across Lloyds Banking Group. The report said:
“The recession, on top of integration, means that colleagues will be most concerned about staying in employment and potentially less concerned than normal about the employment proposition.”
In other words, because people are worried about job security given the merger and recession, we’ll get away with forcing through contract and other changes that ordinarily staff wouldn’t accept.
For the staff affected by the Bank’s recent announcement that 6,240 roles will be axed, this will have particular relevance.
Driving Organisational Change
The timing of these changes will not be a coincidence. Clearly, the move has been planned to exert maximum pressure on staff at a time when they will feel most vulnerable… the run up to Christmas.
That worry of will I / won’t I have a job is being amplified by the fact that many line managers, most of whom are trying to do their best to support staff whilst at risk themselves, are being given scant information to pass on to staff.
We’ve highlighted the problems with the job swap site and the fact that it won’t be updated until the end of November, meaning that those staff who are at risk cannot see all available jobs. And even when jobs are available, critical information such as grade, location and working hours and full job description are often missing.
The ambiguity, lack of transparency and timing inevitably generates one thing: fear.
As the report to the Lloyds Bank’s GEC said, at times like this, staff “will be most concerned about staying in employment and potentially less concerned than normal about the employment proposition”. Lloyds Bank know that and are trying to force through changes with as little opposition as possible by creating uncertainty.
The Emerging Reality
What’s beginning to transpire now is that some staff who have been placed are being put under intolerable pressure to travel excessively long distances to work, with no guarantee that compensation will be paid for doing so. It would seem that’s the price staff are expected to pay for having a job. We’ve been contacted by members who are facing intolerable stress, upset and financial uncertainty: one is bound to question what effect that will have on staff and their families. This is particularly ironic given the public emphasis Lloyds places on the importance of mental health issues and its endless PR and advertising campaigns.
1. If you have any concerns about changing your location, or working hours or about mobility, you should seek BTU’s advice straight away. We’re available 24 hours a day on 01234 262868 (choose Option 1).
2. Do not enter into any verbal agreements or accept any verbal assurances. I can’t emphasise this too strongly.
3. Do not agree to temporary changes to be helpful, without clear written understandings on the nature and duration of the arrangement you are entering into and what will happen when it ends. This is essential.
4. If you don’t have a copy, write to the Bank to obtain a copy of your Contract of Employment.
5. Take carefully into account how changes in your circumstances could make something that’s reasonable now, impossible at a later date e.g. care commitments.
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