Lloyds Signals Major Branch Closure Programme In 2021
Lloyds Banking Group, where Affinity has the largest membership of any trade union, is offering grades A and B staff in its three main brands the opportunity to move permanently from branches to work in customer service roles based from home. Those roles – details of which will be announced tomorrow – will start from February 2021. There are lots of branch staff who have been performing these roles for a number of months already.
The bank will say that this announcement is part of its commitment to job security. Having got rid of 35,000+ jobs over the last 10 years, Lloyds is now asking staff to believe that it’s interested in ‘job security’ all of a sudden! Members should be wary, very wary, of this particular Trojan Horse. How long will these so-called ‘new’ roles last? Does the Lloyds commitment to job security extend beyond the end of next year?
Jo Harris – Managing Director, Lloyds Bank and Bank of Scotland and Russell Galley, Managing Director, Halifax Bank – will tell staff that a fundamental reappraisal of all three branch networks is now underway following the reduction in branch transactions, lower footfall and the shift to digital banking and other channels during the pandemic. Lloyds is assuming that the shift in customer behaviours we have seen over the last 10 months, driven by government messages telling customers to stay at home to avoid the virus, is permanent. We don’t think it is. Moreover, we think the announcement tomorrow is the calm before the storm, with all three brands – Lloyds, Halifax and Bank of Scotland – getting ready for branch closures and job losses next year.
One of the implications of the tomorrow’s announcement is that those staff who don’t take or are not offered one of the outbound telephony or customer service type roles, will be more likely to be made redundant next year. That might suit those members who are looking for severance. Equally, the bank will also say that those staff who remain the branches will be expected to be more flexible. There is even the suggestion, that staff from all three brands will operate from joint pools with staff moving from one brand to another regularly. To paraphrase the new Lloyds Group Chief Executive, Charlie Nunn, talking about banking in the digital age, the ‘hyper-personalisation’ of financial services will render internal brands obsolete anyway.
Further Newsletters on the announcement tomorrow will follow in the next few days. In the meantime, members with any questions should contact the Union’s Advice Team on 01234 716005(choose Option 1).