Employees and customers of the Co-operative Bank have joined forces to urge the bank not to repeat the same mistakes as the Co-operative Group and are demanding fair and transparent pay at the bank.
The announcement comes as the bank prepares to poll its customers on its ethical policies. The alliance is calling on the bank to include a question on bankers’ bonuses in the forthcoming survey of customer opinion.
Unite, which represents employees at the bank and the Save Our Bank campaign fear that short-term pressure from the new majority private ownership will lead to a weakening of the bank’s ethical policy. Unite and Save Our Bank are working together to ensure the Co-operative Bank sticks to its ethical principles and ultimately returns to majority co-operative control.
Customers, members and staff at the former parent business, the Co-operative Group were outraged by revelations last weekend about pay at the top of the Group, leading to the resignation of chief executive Euan Sutherland on Tuesday. Now Unite and the Save Our Bank campaign are urging the bank not to make the same mistake.
Referring to the bank’s recent marketing slogan 'Ethical banking has always been in our DNA'. Rob Harrison, editor of Ethical Consumer magazine, which helped set up the Save Our Bank campaign said: “Ethics in the DNA should mean fair pay. We know from our supporters that any move by the bank to pay its executives City-style bonuses would lead to a haemorrhaging of trust and customers. Frankly the bank can’t afford that.”
Unite national officer Rob Macgregor said: “Our members are being asked to make sacrifices and many face losing their jobs. The bank must show that any pain will be shared at all levels and that pay is fair. The executive pay row at the Co-operative Group has had a big impact on morale in the bank, even though they are separate now. We want the bank leadership to make it clear that it won’t make the same mistake.”
Almost six months after the Co-operative Group announced it would relinquish majority control of the bank in a £1.5 billion rescue plan, Unite and the grassroots internet-based campaign believe that by combining the voice of customers and employees they can bring strong pressure on the bank management.
For more information contact Ciaran Naidoo on 07768 931 315
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Notes for editors:
- Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.
Save Our Bank is a grass-roots Internet-based campaign run by Co-operative Bank customers with the support and backing of Ethical Consumer magazine. The campaign is calling on the Co-operative Bank to keep the hard-edged ethical policies it is famous for, and is working for an eventual return of the bank to majority co-operative ownership and control.