Unite general secretary says, despite austerity, it is business as usual for banks

Tim Lezard

Pile of cashUnions have condemned Barclays Bank for giving nine executives shares worth £40m even as the 1% pay cap on public sector pay was extended to 2015-16.

Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said: “On the day the chancellor cruelly demands more austerity from working people, to pay for an economic crisis caused by bank bosses, Barclays bury the news that senior bankers are pocketing millions. Working people and ordinary bank staff who played no part in causing the economic crisis have a right to be furious.

“This announcement makes a complete mockery of any claims that banks are cleaning up their acts when it comes to bonuses. Antony Jenkin’s promise of a culture shift at the bank sounds hollow – it looks like business as usual at the bank.

“Staff in branches and call centres up and down the country want to get on but many continue to struggle on low pay. Meanwhile, senior bankers who were at or near the helm during the scandals that have rocked Britain’s banks behave like nothing has changed.”

“Just think what the £38.5 million bonuses being handed out to highly paid Barclays bosses would paid for” said UNISON, the UK’s largest union today?

£38.5 million could have paid for more than 1,800 nurses on a starting salary of £21,000. It could have funded 9625 pain relieving hip operations or provided potentially-life saving neuroblastoma treatment for nearly 600 children with cancer at £65,000 each. It could have funded nearly 3,000 home care workers to help the elderly to remain in their own homes.

UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis said: “Barclays bosses are clearly wired into another planet. Bonuses on this scale for people who already earn astronomical wages are a disgrace.  It’s Bleak house for the majority but the minority get to party on.”

“The measures outlined in the budget mean public sector workers will face a six year freeze and squeeze on pay – all thanks to the banking crisis and the government’s failure to turn recession into recovery. They will rightly be very angry at this news.

“This money could have paid for more than 9,000 pain relieving hip operations, or put more than 1,800 nurses on our hospital wards. It could have paid for nearly 3,000 care workers to look after elderly people in their own homes.

“All over the country, the fall out of the banking crisis means public service workers are losing their jobs, and vital local services are shutting down leaving people are going without the care and support they need, while bankers just keep on lining their pockets.

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Tim Lezard

Campaigning journalist, editor of @Union_NewsUK, NUJ exec member; lover of cricket, football, cycling, theatre and dodgy punk bands

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