Bank workers' union goes ape over sales incentive

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The Independent Online
THE ROYAL Bank of Scotland wanted to make sure employees were not monkeying around and failing to hit sales targets, writes Barrie Clement.

Its Manchester branch hit on an unusual way of ensuring staff kept up to scratch. At a briefing session they were told that any group failing to meet its objectives would be given furry toy monkeys which members would have to put on their desk. To add insult to injury, says the Banking Insurance and Finance Union, staff had to give up their own time to hear about the motivational technique.

A senior union official said that at a time when people were worried about their jobs it was a gimmick many found less than amusing.

The bank, which yesterday lost a second industrial tribunal for unfair selection over redundancy, has shed more than 1,000 jobs since October 1991.

The union official said: 'It is difficult to treat such childish behaviour seriously, but it does demonstrate a worrying underlying trend in staff management techniques. The view that you can motivate staff by demeaning and ridiculing them is both outrageous and perverse.'

Arwyn James, an official at the bank's Edinburgh headquarters, said the union had 'blown the incident out of all proportion'. He added that while those at the bottom of the sales league were to be given a monkey, people at the top were apparently presented with furry pigs.