Members are going to hear a lot about ‘job families’ when the bank announces its new approach to career progression. The easiest way to explain this is as a group of related jobs organised in terms of grade. So, there might be an HR, Finance, Audit, Digital or Customer Operation job families in non-customer facing roles for example. In customer facing roles you could have a retail banking job family, for example.
The Bank will say its new approach will make career and salary progression much clearer because staff will be able to see what they need to do in terms of the acquiring new skills, to move up to the next level and how much that progression is worth. Members shouldn’t be persuaded by the bank’s arguments. There is nothing new in HR, it just repackages the same old guff. Lloyds looked at introducing job families some 15 years ago, when it first became fashionable, but decided against it at the last minute because it would have created more problems than it solved. Why is progression easier in some job families than it is in others? Will all staff, regardless of job family, be given the same opportunity to acquire new skills and progress? What are the chances of moving between job families for someone who works in the retail bank, for example? Why is it that some job families are paid better than others even though the jobs are very similar? And what will job families do to ensure people get the rate for the job?
Merging of ‘Uppers’ and ‘Lowers’
We think the bank will use job families to deal with some outstanding grading issues and the merging of ‘uppers’ and ‘lowers’ for grades D and E staff will be top of its list. The bank tried to do this in 2014 but we stopped it by threatening legal action. We understand that at the time the two staff unions had accepted the bank’s proposals. We told the bank that grades were contractual and any attempt to remove them without our agreement, which would never happen, would result in legal action. The bank decided that another fight with the union that had won a famous legal victory on behalf of female members was something it wanted to avoid. It shelved its plans, never to be seen again, until now.
At the time the bank said that staff in grades D and E would be managed to a new salary mid-point which would be set at 75% of the difference between the ‘uppers’ and ‘lowers’ for each grade. So, if we use the 2020 pay scales that would mean the following:
The winners would be those who received an immediate ‘bring to minimum’ payment and those who fell into a lower pay zone and would thus be subject to more favourable annual pay awards. The losers would be those who would be above the maximum of the new pay range and those who fell into a higher pay zone and would then be subject to less favourable annual pay awards. Whilst the numbers have changed, 38% of grades D and E staff would have been worse off under the bank’s proposals and those staff had a contractual right to keep their grade. The bank backed off but we think that it’s reached an agreement with the two smaller unions – who are unwilling to contest any of the bank’s proposals because they rely on its support – to introduce something very similar later this year. That’s unacceptable, and they need to think again before agreeing to something which is going to make thousands of staff worse off. Accord and Unite will probably go along with it yet again because their survival depends on their being useful to the bank as rubber-stampers of dodgy deals.
Members with any questions on this Newsletter can contact the Union’s Advice Team on 01234 262868.