Union lambasts 'cynical' HSBC

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The Independent Online

Britain's biggest private-sector union, Amicus, denounced HSBC's offer of nursery places and childcare vouchers to all its UK staff yesterday as a "cynically timed attempt" to avert a damaging strike.

Britain's biggest private-sector union, Amicus, denounced HSBC's offer of nursery places and childcare vouchers to all its UK staff yesterday as a "cynically timed attempt" to avert a damaging strike.

HSBC said it was the first company in the country to offer its 57,000 employees across the UK both workplace nursery places and childcare vouchers for children up to the age of 16.

The announcement came less than a week after Amicus balloted HSBC staff for possible strike action in a dispute over pay.

HSBC sent a circular to staff on 20 April to announce the childcare scheme, promising full details in June. But Amicus said the bank had brought forward its public announcement because of the looming strike action.

Rob O'Neill, at Amicus, said: "We object to HSBC's attempt to mislead staff and customers into believing the bank is contributing additional money from its own funds.... This is a cynically timed attempt to avert a damaging strike. The world's stingiest bank is being generous with taxpayers' money, not their own."

The union has threatened a series of strikes starting on 27 May, the day of HSBC's annual meeting. Amicus claimed that out of 25,000 staff covered by its negotiated pay arrangements, up to 10 per cent will get no pay rise.

The bank responded that about two-thirds of UK staff were already paid above the market average.

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