Bankers vote for walkout

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Staff at 3,000 Lloyds-TSB branches have voted for a festive half- day walkout on Christmas Eve in protest at management's decision to stay open until 4.30pm. Their colleagues at NatWest however voted narrowly to keep working despite the company's decision to make them work normal hours.

John Townsend, assistant secretary at the Banking Insurance and Finance Union, said the decision by Lloyds staff was made in defence of "family values and the right to a decent break at Christmas".

He added that there had been no great clamour from customers to keep branches open late and his members would be walking out at 12.30pm. Cash dispensers would be filled before staff leave.

Barrie Clement