No vote saves Lloyds Jobs, Not!
The announcement of 9000 job losses at Lloyds Banking Group must have come as a surprise to a lot of No voters. The bank took part in the government enticed fear explosion in the closing days of the referendum. A non violent act of terror designed to sow doubts in the minds of the large proportion of undecided voters. Although many were not fooled, sadly, it was a tactic that worked.
The pre-referendum announcement I can understand. A quarter of Lloyds shares are owned by the UK Government. Cameron used that power to coerce them into making a statement and they obliged by unveiling a contingency plan to relocate a plaque in the event of a Yes vote (a move that incidentally would have benefited an independent Scotland). The Press did the rest by reporting the announcement without any scrutiny and in the most alarmist way possible. The rest is history.
While I am not shocked by today’s announcement it does highlight one of the issues that people who were voting Yes were trying to change. We were trying to move towards a society where people were valued and not just seen as commodities. Where companies are not just loyal to shareholders, but view themselves as an integral part of society and, as such, see the value of nurturing and investing in the people of that society.
There is something wrong with a banking system that takes billions of pounds of taxpayers money and then rewards the same taxpayers by making them unemployed. One of the reasons people voted Yes was to try to change the relationship between workers and corporate governance. We wanted to be more like Germany, where workers are represented on company boards and remuneration committees and are not kept in the dark about the the problems facing their employers. A system that leads to different outcomes as staff and governance work together to find solutions. A system that leads to more income equality, better standards of living and the retention of skilled employment.
The announcement today of 150 branch closures in favour of concentrating on creating online products is just double speak. What Lloyds are really saying is that they have no soul, compassion, social responsibility and imagination. In order to save a bit of cash, placate their shareholders in the short term and keep their hideously overblown corporate salaries they are going to punish those at the bottom. They will no doubt outsource most of the IT work. This is the Neo Liberal way of thinking. It is why we live in one of the most unfair developed countries.
There are other better models but there are no longer any leaders at the UK level who are ideologically susceptible to them. Still, news of a partially state owned company losing ten percent of its workforce can’t be good news for George Osborne’s recovery. One wonders if the matter was discussed in September when Cameron was frantically calling round his friends for favours?
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