Bank staff refuse to work on Christmas Eve

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The Independent Online
Industrial unrest at high street banks spread to the Midland yesterday when staff voted to walk out on Christmas Eve.

The 24-hour stoppage at Midland, in protest at management's decision to stay open all day on 24 December, coincides with a fourth day-long strike at Barclays where employees are angry over the imposition of a performance related pay system.

In Scotland, more than 10,500 members of the Banking Insurance and Finance Union at the Clydesdale bank, TSB and Royal Bank of Scotland are also being balloted on strike action on 2 January. Staff walked out last year over the banks' decision to open on 2 January, a Scottish bank holiday. In a 36 per cent turnout, members of the union at Midland voted by 3,250 to 2,550 for industrial action, a margin of 56 per cent.

Alan Scrimgour, a union official, said banks were empty last Christmas Eve after lunchtime: "Nobody wants to arrange a mortgage or take out a loan on Christmas Eve."

A spokesman for management said that only one in ten of the total workforce had voted in favour of the action and he anticipated that there would be no "material" affect on the service.

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