The bosses, pundits, press and politicians have all had their say on the credit crunch. The one voice that hasn’t being heard is that of the workers in the banking industry.
It’s vital to differentiate between the rich bankers responsible for the credit crisis and the ordinary workers who happen to be employed by banks, building societies and the like.
These workers are the victims of the credit crunch every bit as much as others. For us the job losses and pressures on pay are already a reality.
I work for Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) and like 99 percent of the workers here I have nothing in common with our discredited executives.
Consider Fred “the Shred” Goodwin, our former chief executive. Here is a man who has been rewarded with millions of pounds for the abject failure of seeing RBS become majority owned by the government following a £20 billion bailout.
The reality for many finance sector workers is an average starting salary of £11,500 with slow progress through the grades, non-negotiable and often unattainable targets to deliver and low pay rises.
The Unite union has even had to launch a “zero tolerance to zero pay” campaign in recognition of the fact that a significant number of employees in the sector receive no pay rise at all.
So far Unite has issued plenty of press releases and staged a number of token demonstrations.
But what we really need is a militant campaign that says no to job losses, no to low pay and no to bank workers paying for a crisis caused by those at the very top.
We also need to get together with other sections of the workers’ movement to ensure that there are no home repossessions and no jobs lost anywhere because of banks refusing to lend money at affordable rates.