Memorandum from Ms Sheila Kettles
I am writing to you as a stakeholder in HBoS.
I am a staff member, customer, shareholder and payer of income
tax. I am also a Workplace Representative in the HBoS Retail Contact
Centre in West Marketgait, Dundee for the Unite union. There are
approx 400 staff in this Centre.
I attended a meeting on 28th October at the
House of Commons with other union reps within the Finance Sector
where we launched the Unite Social Contract for Financial Services.
One of the biggest fears I, and the members
I represent, have at the moment is the uncertainty of our situation
within HBoS. We are receiving daily communications regarding the
take-over by Lloyds TSB from the HBoS advising that this take-over
is in all our best interests.
The report contained in Wednesday's "Scotsman"
that Lloyds have retained Andy Hornby, current CEO of HBoS, at
a reported annual salary of £720,000 on a consultancy basis
has both angered and confused me. The Government have injected
serious amounts of money into banks and many of us are unaware
if our jobs are secure. Andy Hornby has contributed to the situation
we find ourselves in and due to his `knowledge of HBoS' is being
retained on a salary that most of us will not earn in a lifetime
far less a year. Mr Hornby is now advising the best course of
action is to let Lloyds TSB take-over HBoS knowing he will be
paid a substantial amount of money from the Company he is promoting.
Would this not count as a conflict of interest?
The most recent "message from Andy"
on 10th Nov and sent to all staff speaks of the recent letter
from Peter Burt and George Matthewson to the board of HBoS. Quotes
contained within this message include: "We (The Board and
CEO) remain very much of the view that the Lloyds TSB deal continues
to be in the interest of all our stakeholders, including colleagues.
It provides certainty, real financial benefits", "We
would all like the uncertainty to go away. That is why the deal
with Lloyds TSB is important. It removes that uncertainty for
colleagues and our other stakeholders."
Given that Mr Hornby has secured a £720,000
per annum consultancy `fee' from Lloyds TSB, it certainly will
provide `real financial benefits' to him but what about the workers
who will lose their jobsfigures suggest this could be 20,000
colleagues from both HBoS & Lloyds TSB work force. Where is
their "real financial benefit"?
I believe Lloyds TSB off-shore some of their
functions including their contact centres (referred to as Call
Centres in some Companies.) This is giving cause for concern on
several issues. It could mean that our jobs in the local Contact
Centres (there are also contact centres at Pitreavie, Dunfermline
and Motherwell) are more at risk. I believe that Lloyds TSB and
other financial institutions have to be told that off-shoring
of jobs should be halted. British tax payers have contributed
to the funds to assist these banks so surely jobs should remain
in Britain to help the British economy.
There is also a social & corporate responsibility
issue in that if for example the Dundee Contact Centre was closed
through off-shoring of jobs, this would impact heavily on Dundee
and the surrounding area. Colleagues travel in from Angus, Fife
and Perthshire as well as those living in Dundee.
Colleagues in the Finance Industry have for
years been encouraged to "sell" other products from
their employer which the Company may deem to be "beneficial
to customers". Whilst our customers should be able to benefit
from other financial products, whether or not customers decide
to take up a product should not impact on workers. Unfortunately,
these "sales" make up a large part of our targets and
have an effect not only on bonuses but also any annual pay awards.
These products include credit cards, personal loans and upgrading
of accounts to accounts which have a monthly fee attached to them.
Despite the "credit crunch" and the take-over situation
we now find ourselves in, the targets for selling these products
have remained the same. It is this sell, sell, sell-target driven
culture which has encouraged a "profit before people"
ethos that has contributed, I believe, to the state HBoS and other
Financial Institutions now find themselves in.
I believe an independent inquiry into the situation
between HBoS and Lloyds TSB has to be looked at seriously. The
issue of "short-selling" of shares appears to have affected
the HBoS price since last August. There must be some method ie
inland revenue, of tracing dealings of this nature and who has
The takeover of HBoS by Lloyds TSB would normally
have gone through the monopolies commission however given the
situation this has not happened.
It appears some people may have already benefited
or will benefit from a situation which could see many workers
without jobs throughout Britain.
As the Chair of the Treasury Committee, I sincerely
hope these points are raised on, not only my behalf but on behalf
of the many people this unprecedented situation will affect.