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Unite claims Lloyds bank was ‘very difficult’ on union recognition

Unite the Union has criticised the stance of Lloyds Banking Group in negotiations over the future of the banking firms approximately 20 employees.

Lloyds this week confirmed widely-anticipated news that it was close its Gibraltar operations and relocate to Jersey.

The move follows years of scaled-back operations on the Rock.

But although the bank insisted it handled the process of redundancy consultation “both sensitively and appropriately”, Unite yesterday claimed that Lloyds was not receptive to its involvement in the process.

Union official Christian Duo contrasted the attitude of the bank to Unite’s involvement with that of Barclays, Newcastle Building Society and Norwich & Peterborough when those firms ceased their local operations.

He explained that those firms had “no issue whatsoever” to the union’s involvement but claimed that Lloyds had proven to be “very difficult” in the course of negotiations.

Mr Duo further explained that Unite was nevertheless able to negotiate an improved package for Lloyds employees.

This, he said, did not mirror what other banking firms had offered employees but was an improvement on the original package.

For its part Lloyds said: “We have carried out a consultation with employee representatives, employees and while there was no obligation to consult with unions we engaged with them in good faith in recognition of the constructive role they play in supporting colleagues during this time.”

Meanwhile, the GSD described Lloyds decision to close its Gibraltar operations as “unwelcome news”.

Former GSD MP and Executive Member, Damon Bossino, said: “This latest report follows hot on the heels of Jyske Bank’s recently announced decision to sell its Gibraltar branch.”

We note Lloyds’ statement in the case of this closure that it has gone beyond its legal consultation obligations by also engaging with the Union.

This is, in the circumstances welcome and is encouraged by the GSD.

The main and immediate preoccupation in all these cases must be with the employees and their families who will be most directly hit the hardest,” he said.

The GSD added that from a wider perspective and as with the case with Jyske Bank’s decision, this latest move is also, by all accounts, being dictated by Brexit considerations.

“As stated previously, whereas some decisions are out of our control we need to ensure that existing operations in banking, insurance and other sectors such as gaming are encouraged to remain in Gibraltar,” the Opposition said in a statement.

The GSD said it will continue to closely monitor events.

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