You know things are desperate when a union starts blaming its members for their lack of action or support.
In an incredible admission of failure, Accord has told its members that it couldn’t do anything on pay this year because “Unfortunately, we only received responses from around 7% of members. With such a low response rate from members, we had little leverage to force a better deal”. Accord’s members, and it’s still only got 20% of our membership despite massive financial and logistical support from TSB, didn’t register their views on TSB’s pay offer because they got no direction from their union about whether it was a good deal or not. Accord said nothing, so why should its members. Equally, Accord members must now know it’s in the pocket of TSB and refuses to challenge its narrative on pay or any issue. It’s not weak membership that’s the problem: weak and passive union leadership is the issue.
TSB staff have got one of the lowest pay settlements for the second year running. Pay is stagnating for TSB staff when compared with the cost of living and many staff are taking on more responsibilities for the same reward. Simply, recycling the Bank’s arguments for being tight fisted in its communications with its members is not good enough.
And then Accord tries to kick the pay issue into the long grass again for another year by saying:
“We have, however, got the business to commit to a review of pay practice to try to develop an alternative approach for 2020 and beyond that address the concerns regarding pay progression that members have raised”.
Staff will have read something similar to that before. This is what Accord said last year:
“What is possible is an immediate review of pay progression in grade B then more talks to try to deal with some of the structural issues in TSB’s pay system and jointly try to develop and agree a better approach that will improve the position for the future”.
It never happened and Accord is trying to pull the wool over their members eyes again.
The question is can TSB impose the pay increase despite the fact that it’s not been agreed by any of the unions? TSB can impose the pay increase but there is one area of employment law, which is fast developing – called section 145B action – which could prove useful. There are two cases going through the Appeal Courts in the England and Scotland, where employers imposed pay rises and bonus payments without agreement and those have been successfully challenged by unions. Those cases are being appealed by employers. It’s a very long shot made more difficult by the actions of Accord but worth looking at. We will keep members informed of developments. In the meantime, members with any questions can contact the Union’s Advice Team on 01234 716029.