'Nothing short of outrageous'
Unite survey reveals Lloyds Bank staff suffering financial hardship
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Belying the popular notion of ‘fat cat’ bankers, a third of Lloyds bank workers who participated in the survey report financial struggles, with 22 per cent saying they were often short of money before payday. Just over 3 per cent said they were in serious financial hardship, while nearly 4 per cent reported turning to overdrafts or loans to get by.
The bank’s culling of thousands of jobs over the last two years has struck fear into the heart of Lloyds Bank workers, with more than half of survey respondents saying they worried that they may lose their job.
Stress plagues Lloyds Bank staff – the Unite survey found two-thirds reported experiencing symptoms of stress directly caused by their jobs, including anxiety attacks, depression, sleeplessness and frequent headaches.
Unite’s members in Lloyds include call centre workers, branch staff and others, many of whom earn well below the average UK yearly wage of about £30,000.
According to the survey of thousands of Lloyds workers, more than half said they took home the full-time equivalent of £25,000 or less, with a fifth of respondents saying they earned between £16,000 and £20,000 yearly.
While low pay among bank staff isn’t unusual, Lloyds has a particular large pay gap between its highest and lowest earners. Lloyds top boss António Horta-Osório, among the highest paid chief executives in the FTSE 100, took home £6.3m in 2018. Compared to those on the bank’s minimum annual salary of £17,500, Horta-Osório earned 359 times more than the bank’s lowest paid staff.
It is understood that the bank is now consulting on cutting Horta-Osório pension pay package by after concerted criticism from MPs, shareholders, and City lobby groups who have pressured the banking group to bring executive pension payments in line with staff.
Lloyds Bank’s apparent about-face on executive pay comes after MPs accused bank bosses of ‘boundless greed’ at a committee hearing last June. Even amid such fierce criticism, Horta-Osório continued to defend his pay package.
Unite national officer Rob MacGregor called on Lloyds to pay heed to the Unite’s survey results and listen to staff.
“The Unite members who participated in our staff survey are clearly sounding the alarm bells across Lloyds Banking Group,” he said. “Job insecurity and financial hardship show the gulf between those at the top of the bank and the workforce. The reality for staff in this successful financial services organisation is nothing short of outrageous. The management should must now sit up and hear the concerns that Unite has expressed to them from its workforce.”