BANK of Scotland owner Lloyds' staff are staging a protest outside the bank's annual meeting today as part of a dispute over pay.

Members of the Unite union will tell those attending the meeting in Edinburgh that low paid employees can't afford to heat their homes or will stop paying their pension contributions.

The union said it is sending a message to Lloyds Banking Group to "pay staff, not just shareholders".

Unite is appealing to shareholders and the bank's board to take a small reduction in their share buyback programme to boost workers' financial resources.

Caren Evans, Unite national officer, said: "The workforce has told Unite that they won't be able to sufficiently heat their homes. Some are even having to sacrifice their future retirement plans by stopping pension contributions, and with many bank employees are having to turn to debt to pay their bills."

A Lloyds spokesman said: "We understand that the wider economic circumstances are increasingly challenging. We believe our reward package is fair and competitive, including pay, bonuses, flexible benefits, pensions, and great options for agile and flexible working.

"Overall a majority of those union members who voted, voted in favour of the pay offer this year."

Lloyds said the pay offer this year was worth 3.6%, giving a minimum pay increase of £1,000 for all employees.

For two thirds of junior staff, increases were 4% or higher. The minimum salary increased to £10.60 per hour (£19,292 a year). With other payments, this equates to a £20,000 minimum starting rate for new joiners.


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