An Update for Members
Following the troubling events of the last few months across both the Co-operative Bank and the Co-operative Group, the Trades Unions have been in regular dialogue with both businesses to understand just what the effect on staff will be. This communication is to give you an update on progress so far, and an indication of the impact across the organisation.
The business have today announced a series of substantial cost cutting measures, along with a proposed five year programme to substantially reduce the number of staff in the Bank. Staff should note that the 1,000 job losses widely touted by the press is speculation, and the eventual number is very likely to be substantially greater.
Whilst the trades unions understand the need for radical measures at present, we are very disappointed that more detail isn’t being shared with staff and have made our views very clear to management. We are also concerned at the prospect of external investors being involved in the Bank, and are keeping an eye on developments as they unfold.
Given all of the above, we view one of our main objectives is to work with the business to try and retain as many jobs as we possibly can, and to ensure that decent severance terms are on offer to all those who leave the business as a result.
After several lengthy and difficult meetings, we have secured a commitment to pay severance at three weeks per year of service, for those with 12 months service or more, for the next two years. Given the financial circumstances, and the initial offer on severance made by the business (1.75 x statutory minimum), the trades unions are satisfied that this is the best outcome we can achieve, and we believe it will provide a financial cushion to those who exit CBG.
We have committed to further talks with the business regarding future terms thereafter, but have given no firm commitment other than that.
It should be noted that all three sets of trades union negotiators each consulted with their representative committees to seek their opinion and agree a way forward, and are very clear that staff feel they are being impacted by a financial predicament that they didn’t create.
To be clear, no volunteers are being sought as yet, and no further detail has yet been agreed. However it should be borne in mind that CBG would have absolute discretion over which volunteers to ultimately accept, and are likely to want to keep valuable staff within the business to work towards its recovery.
As always the trades unions are committed to protecting member’s interests as far as possible, and will work with management to identify redeployment opportunities for affected staff wherever possible.
We know that members have been eager to know what is likely to happen and when. The trades unions have not felt it appropriate to issue any communications whilst negotiations have been ongoing, as we would wish to convey a definitive position to members.
There is much detail to work out regarding the future structure of CBG, and how that will impact on staff. The position will unfold over the coming months through further negotiations and consultations.
The individual trades unions will communicate as necessary with their members, and will continue to work closely together through the Joint Trades Union Committee. In the meantime, if you have any questions, then in the first instance refer to the intranet, failing that then raise via your line manager or your individual trade union.
There is strength in numbers, and in times of difficulty, trades union membership is vital.
To speak with NACO Official on any issue, please contact the NACO National Office