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.

Scottish bathrooms business founded in 1881 sold in £80m deal

GRANT Westfield, which designs, manufactures and supplies waterproof bathroom panels, is being acquired by Norcros in an £80 million deal.

Grant Westfield was founded in 1881 and manufactures more than 8,000 panels each week sold under the Multi-panel brand. Its manufacturing operation is in Edinburgh.

Scottish conference centre secures raft of large events for next year

A SCOTTISH exhibition centre has announced a raft of conference wins that will bring thousands of delegates and provide millions of pounds of economic benefit in the next year.

The Edinburgh International Conference Centre said nearly 20 events will cover sectors including medicine and life sciences, technology and engineering, and finance and legal.

Sign up: You can get the briefing and the top business news stories sent direct to your email inbox twice-daily, and Business Week for the weekly round-up on Sunday 👇