The pregnant pauses, the nervous laughter, the shuffling of papers trying to find the right speaking note and then the big reveal: staff transferring to the JV can keep their mortgages and banking products. So, the JV is not taking away something which staff have already got. Those staff listening in to the teleconference must have been jumping up and down with joy when they heard that.
But it gets even better, if that was possible. The pay bands have changed, which will benefit some from 1st June, but for the vast majority of staff it’s more Schroder’s jam tomorrow. Those staff who have worked for years to get near the market rate for the job have had the ladder well and truly pulled away again. Here is a suggestion – why not maintain market positions? If a Wealth Adviser was at 98% of the wealth market before the JV, why shouldn’t he/she maintain that position after the JV? After all, Lloyds spent years telling staff they were being paid against the wealth market!
And don’t get us started on the new bonus arrangements – there was so much information on how the new scheme was going to work and by how much the bonus pool had been increased that staff must have been salivating at the prospect of all the money they can earn in the new business. The refrain was: “You help us grow the business” and Schroders will share the benefits. The reality is Schroders and Lloyds will keep most of the benefits and staff will get a few crumbs, if they are lucky. We think the JV senior management team have forgotten that the wealth advisers are the business. If they go, and many have already contacted us since the announcement yesterday to talk about notice periods and other contractual obligations, then the business will go with them. The sad fact is that yesterday’s announcement is going to make that more, rather than less, likely.
The Q&A session yesterday, minus the director who went on holiday instead to lie down in a dark room, wasn’t much better and the failure to answer basic questions was disturbing. Why are wealth staff going to the JV being treated worse than those staff who went to IBM?
The Know Nothings
Accord said of yesterday’s announcement that it “had delivered for Halifax, BoS and Lloyds staff”. Delivered what? Since the proposed terms and conditions were originally announced it’s said virtually nothing, produced no analysis of what was being offered and done nothing. It’s been BTU and wealth staff who have been challenging the Bank’s narrative on terms and conditions. Accord goes on to say of the ‘new’ package” that: “A far more positive proposition is now being made which includes the continuation of the staff mortgage scheme and other colleague products after the transfer.” The fact is those products were always going to continue. This is not a normal TUPE outsourcing. Lloyds will still own the majority of the new JV. You can’t tell union members you’ve secured something they have already got and expect to be congratulated for your hard work. We’ve said it before but there is no point being at the negotiating table, if you’re just part of the menu. There comes a point when you’ve got to get up of your knees and at least fight for your members’ interests. And what about pensions?
3% Compensation – That’s It.
It’s a little-known fact but the defined benefit pension scheme is worth approximately 21% of basic salary. That’s how much the Bank contributes every year for every member of the pension schemes.
When staff transferred to IBM a few years ago they received salary supplements of 6% or 10% per annum, depending upon whether they were in a contributory or a non-contributory pension scheme.
Defined pension schemes members will get a 3% salary uplift to enrol them into the Schroders Personal Wealth Defined Contribution Pension Scheme.
That’s it. Wealth staff have lost a benefit worth 21% and been given 3% to replace it. If they had got the IBM deal then staff could have used 5% in the new DC scheme to get the maximum employer contribution of 13% (giving them 18% in total) and used the remaining 5% to secure additional pension benefits elsewhere. Still not as good as a defined benefit pension scheme but much better than the pittance on offer from Schroders.
Accord say: “The pension position is more positive than many defined benefit scheme members first understood”. That’s an unbelievably arrogant statement to make. Staff understood what was being offered. It was a rubbish deal when it was first announced and it’s still a rubbish deal. The passage of time hasn’t made it any more palatable.
We will deal with bonuses, sharesave and severance terms in our next Newsletter. In the meantime, members with any questions or comments on the latest proposals should contact the Union’s Advice Team immediately on 01234 262868 (Choose Option 1) or they can email me at email@example.com.