Q25 Chair: There has been no trouble in the bank at all?
Stuart Sinclair: It is a very interesting question. I try to stay in touch as part of my job, not just with what is leading thinking about pay, but also what people believe in the bank. I will go to branches quite a lot and I do not do royal visits. I just go and hang around and I try to stay in touch with people. We also have a wonderful system called Hive, where everybody can make anonymous comments. We look at that very closely to see whether people are saying, “Our boss is living in a fantasy world. He is not worth it”. You do not get that. The point I would make is when you go to see people—
Q26: Chair: We have had that. People have e-mailed myself, for example, making that very point. It is very strange they should do it to me and not through the channels of the bank, is it not?
Stuart Sinclair: I have spoken to Accord and Unite and a whole variety of folks on this and I do not see that sort of discord. Let me make the final point here, Mr Field. People like a winner, I think, and when I go out to see people who are on £22,000, £30,000 or £40,000, they see António as a winner because he brought this bank back from the brink.
Q27 Chair: He certainly is a winner.
Stuart Sinclair: No, I mean winner in the sense that—thank goodness for British taxpayers—he did, through his effort, working with others, pull this bank back from the brink. People regard that as a big achievement and there is a charisma around António that means a lot of people say, “Good luck to him. He works incredibly hard and I do not resent the money”.
The Committee is publishing representations from the Banking Group’s Director of Public Affairs, contesting Chair Frank Field’s comment after the session that:
“We have just received an even more thorough account of the disconnect between these bank executives and the reality for the majority of their workforce. The executives claim to have heard no complaints – which seems surprising to say the least, given that a union representing Lloyds staff has written to an MP, and spoken out in public. What we didn’t hear was a pledge to put things right. I very much hope we will not be back here with Mr Horta-Osório and Mr Sinclair again next year, but that Lloyds’ executives will instead do the right thing long before then.”
- and asking the Committee to “correct” the statement that “executives claim to have heard no complaints”.
In the published email correspondence (attached) Chair Frank Field responds saying:
“Re-reading those answers it does not strike me as at all unreasonable that those who heard Mr Sinclair’s evidence understood him to be telling us that he had heard no complaints from Lloyds staff about the disparity between their pension arrangements and those at the top of the bank. On that basis, I see no reason to alter the quote given on the website, which in any case has now been on the public record since the day of the session.
“We would, however, be happy to give Lloyds an opportunity to clarify the record. If Mr Sinclair would like to write to us with additional written evidence making clear that he has indeed heard complaints from Lloyds staff about executive pensions, and the nature of those complaints, I am sure that the Committee would agree to publish it on our website.”
Wednesday 24 July 2019, The Thatcher Room, Portcullis House
- Ged Nichols, General Secretary, Accord
- Dominic Hook, National Office for Finance, Unite the Union
Immediately following that at approx. 10:30am Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Amber Rudd will give evidence before the House rises for summer on a range of topics, including Universal Credit from the ‘migration’ pathways to problems with fraud and error.