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by Our Industrial reporter @TrinderMatt
UNDERPAID bank staff are “yearning for change” after years of stagnating wages, Unite warned today as it hailed a push to unionise more workers at Lloyds Banking Group.
Campaigners for the union’s “bold new trade unionism” drive highlighted that there is a “vast difference between bankers and bank workers.
“As one sips champagne, the other decides whether they can afford the cost of boiling a kettle to make a cup of tea.”
Many bank employees in call centres, back-office positions and customer-facing roles often earn no more than £20,000 a year, Unite Lloyds rep Dean Perry told the Morning Star.
He argued that the growing campaign, which has seen events held this week outside the bank’s premises in Leeds, the City of London, Newport, the West Midlands, Greater Manchester, Bristol and Glasgow, is desperately needed because “workers are starting to feel the squeeze” amid soaring prices.
“There’s been overwhelming support from workers. People are seeing the bank making quite substantial profits and they expect a fair slice.”
Lloyds shareholders have received £1.4 billion in dividend payments this year after the bank made a £5.9bn profit in 2021, according to Unite.
Mr Perry accused bosses of barring the union’s organisers from entering the bank’s sites and “not being supportive in terms of some of the rhetoric they’re putting out.”
For example, management is “airbrushing” the fact that pressure from Unite brought about an unprecedented £1,000 cost-of-living payment for many employees this summer, a concession now being copied by other banks, he said.
A Lloyds Banking Group spokesperson said: “We continue to have an open and collaborative working relationship with our recognised unions.
“We believe our reward package is fair and competitive, including pay, bonuses, flexible benefits, pensions and great options for agile and flexible working.”
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