Let’s be clear, changing the company car scheme is not about saving the environment, it’s about saving money. When all’s said and done, the bank will save more money from forcing eligible employees to take the allowance, be that consolidated into basic pay or not, rather than allowing those staff to continue to choose a car. If the bank was really concerned about the environment then it would offer staff financial incentives, on top of the current allowances, to buy hybrid or electric cars. Furthermore, it seems the in-house staff unions – Accord and Unite – accepted these changes but changed their minds once staff became aware of what was happening. We’ve always said that sitting round the table is pointless if on the key issues that really matter, rather than the trivial stuff, the bank ignores what you are saying.
75% of staff currently choose to take the car allowance and they can either continue with that allowance being a separate payment or they can consolidate it into basic pay. There are arguments for and against both those options and members will need to decide what’s best for them. Those staff who take the car option are not being given any choices at all because they are being forced to take the car allowance. Staff have always had the choice to take the car allowance but some have chosen for different reasons to take the car instead. The bank’s reward policy has always been about offering choice but now it’s taking away that choice because it can see an opportunity to save money. One could understand the bank’s position if only 8% of staff chose a car but it’s 25% of eligible car scheme members. Many of those that take the car do so because they do a lot of business miles and that’s not going to change. Whilst those staff will continue to be able to claim business mileage rates, they never really cover the cost of running the car on bank business and some staff could find themselves subsidising the bank.
The union is looking at the legal options available to those staff who didn’t sign new harmonised contracts of employment. The harmonised contract of employment doesn’t mention the car scheme at all.
In the meantime, members with any questions can contact the Union’s Advice Team on 01234 262868 (Choose Option 1).