The introduction in 1947 of standardised national Local Authority salary scales drew attention to an anomaly: a special payment made to the staff of the BMB. Under an agreement sanctioned by the City Council in 1928, the Bank's staff had the sum of £25 added to their annual salaries. This sum was compensation for the staff's special conditions of service.
The transmutation of the existing salary grades to the new grades was supervised by the City's Salaries, Wages and Labour Committee. In order to assist that Committee in considering the Bank's proposal to continue the payment of £25 above the general Corporation scales, the Bank's Chairman (Harrison Barrow) wrote formally to Councillor F Webster (Chairman of the Salaries, Wages and Labour Committee) on February 4th 1947. His letter emphasised the following points:
1. The Evening hours of business, which, apart from the inconvenience of evening work, mean that many of the staff, owing to the limited time at their disposal, are unable during the afternoon break to go home, and therefore are away from home from early morning until after 9pm.
2. Half-hour lunch time, with restrictions on staff leaving the premises. Pressure of business may entail their lunch time being interrupted for service to the public. To give a normal lunch time for the Bank staff, as is the case in other Corporation Departments, would either mean employing additional staff at 64 Branches, who would be redundant at other times, or closing the Bank for lunch time, to the detriment of the public.
3. Time of leaving not fixed, but being dependent upon time cash and books balance at each Branch, and the exigencies of business.
4. The fact of the staff being disseminated in small units at 64 daily Branches throughout the City and adjoining Areas, complicates the question of holiday reliefs throughout the whole of the normal holiday period, and eliminates choice of holiday dates by the staff, and enforces a strict rota system. Further, normal Saturday morning leave is restricted and has to be taken at alternative times convenient to the Bank, as has also any additional leave which may be granted to Corporation staffs at Bank Holiday times, etc.
5. The question is not one of overtime payment, but rather one of compensation for awkwardness of hours and special conditions of service. The additional amount over Corporation scales has been paid for the past 18 years, and entrants to the permanent staff of the Bank have understood in their conditions of service that the rates of salary payable to the staff were higher than the general Corporation scales. The difficulties of recruitment of staff would be made still worse if the extra payment of £25 per annum were discontinued.
6. Birmingham is the only Corporation in the United Kingdom empowered by Act of Parliament to operate a Savings Bank and therefore there could be no question of comparison with other Municipalities.
7. It will be appreciated that unless these increased rates are maintained, the staff would suffer a reduction in their salaries before transmutation, and would be placed in a disadvantageous position.
Some of the disadvantages of varying the present method will be seen from the following:
(a) If each officer were moved up to the next higher Grade, the effect would be to increase the possible maximum (Males) by £60; £65; £40: £45; £90; £50; and £50 respectively, ending with APT Grade VIII; and (Females) by £48; £52; £65; £30; £30; £45; and £90 respectively, ending with APT Grade VI. Such adjustments would obviously prove inequitable and costly.
(b) If, on the other hand, each officer not on his maximum, were given accelerated increments in his Grade (although officers are at varying increment stages and increments themselves vary), he would lose the benefit immediately he reached the maximum for his Grade. If to overcome this anomaly, "spilling" into the next Grade were contemplated, the position would revert to the circumstances in (a) above.
(c) Payment for overtime would not meet the position, because officers who did not work overtime would not be recompensed for the special conditions of service, awkwardness of hours, etc.
My Committee feel very strongly about this matter, and hope that the Salaries, Wages and Labour Committee will now give their formal approval to the payment of the additional sum of £25 over Corporation scales, with the graduated amount in the General Division.
At a Special Meeting of the Bank Committee held on March 3rd 1947, the Chairman read a letter dated February 26th received from the Committee Clerk to the Salaries, Wages and Labour Committee:
NATIONAL JOINT COUNCIL SALARY SCALES.
MEMORANDUM FORTHE USE OF The BANK COMMITTEE.
Arising upon the introduction of the National Joint Salary Scales, the Salaries, Wages & Labour Committee are not disposed to consider favourably the introduction into any Department of any special scales. It is understood that the special scales were suggested in view of the specialised character of the conditions of service in the Bank.
So far as evening work is concerned, the Salaries, Wages & Labour Committee point out that these conditions are also present in varying degrees in other Departments of the Corporation - certainly the Education and the Public Libraries Departments. The uncertain hours of business and the excess of the average weekly hours should be met by the provision of the National Joint Council's conditions relating to overtime (in so far as they are applicable).
The other special matters referred to, including the restricted and interrupted meal-time, should be covered by the suggestions summarised below as to the general re-arrangement of scales to bring the desired remuneration within the compass of the standardised scales fixed by the National Joint Council.
MALES - GENERAL DIVISION.
Advance the age by one year so that a youth of 16 commences with the NJC remuneration of a youth of 17.
APT Grade I with payment for overtime, or
APT Grade II without payment for overtime.
Attention is drawn in this connection to the latter part of paragraph 9 of the General Conditions of Service as interpreted.
"Officers whose duties involve regular evening attendance in connection with meetings of councils and committees shall be granted compensatory leave of absence at the convenience of the department, except in cases when such circumstances are reflected in the officer's recognised conditions of service, and are specifically referred to in the officer's terms of appointment".
APT Grade III with payment for overtime, or
APT Grade IV without payment for overtime
RELIEF BRANCH MANAGERS.
The question arises as to whether this is intended to apply only when the Relief Branch Managers are acting as such. Upon the assumption that this is so, it is suggested that they might be dealt with by translation to APT Grade V.
BRANCH MANAGERS 3RD CLASS & SECOND ASSISTANTS IN HOUSE PURCHASE AND ACCOUNTS DEPARTMENT.
APT Grade VI
BRANCH MANAGERS 2ND CLASS.
APT Grade VII
BRANCH MANAGERS 1ST CLASS & FIRST ASSISTANTS IN HOUSE PURCHASE AND ACCOUNTS DEPARTMENT.
APT Grade VIII
The Committee will no doubt wish again to submit their recommendations.
FEMALES - GENERAL DIVISION.
The girl of 16 is appointed upon the basis of her being 17, as in the case of the males.
LEDGER CLERKS, CASHIERS, MACHINE OPERATORS & TYPISTS - SECOND CLASS.
It is suggested that this Group should be divided into two establishments. It would seem probable that having regard to the variety of the work indicated, some suitable division could be made. In such case the lower grade might appropriately be the Clerical Division and the higher grade the Higher Clerical Division.
CASHIERS, MACHINE OPEARTORS AND TYPISTS - FIRST CLASS.
APT Grade I
FEMALES - FORMERLY SCALE IV.
APT Grade II with payment for overtime, or
APT Grade III without payment for overtime
CONFIDENTIAL CLERK, WELFARE OFFICER & ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICER.
APT Grade III with payment for overtime, or
APT Grade IV without payment for overtime
RELIEF BRANCH MANAGERS, ETC.
APT Grade V
APT Grade VI.
It may be noted with respect to those grades which are shown above as "without overtime" that it will be necessary to specify in the Conditions of Service that the circumstances are reflected therein and to refer specifically thereto in the officer's terms of appointment. For the purposes of such employment, the hours to be worked would be those necessary to perform satisfactorily the duties of the office.
the above was read out, the Committee were informed that Alderman Kenrick (the Chairman of the Salaries, Wages & Labour Committee)
had not approached the Bank's Chairman. However, the Bank's Chairman had discussed the question with the Town Clerk, who had suggested
that a meeting might be arranged between Aldermen Barrow and Kenrick, in his rooms with a view to endeavouring to reach a definite
During the Committee's discussion which followed the following suggestions were considered:
(1) That the extra payment might be continued to existing members of the Bank Staff on the ground of precedent but that the sum should not be paid to new entrants. Councillor Martin objected to this on the grounds that it would be detrimental to uniformity of conditions of service.
(2) The payment might be made to those members of the staff only who work the extra evening hours. The Committee felt this would not meet the position as all members of the staff worked evening hours and were affected by special conditions such as very short time for lunch.
(3) That either payment should be made for actual overtime worked or that the £25, should be looked upon as a payment made in lieu of overtime, but it was pointed out that the question was not one of overtime payment but one of compensation for awkwardness of hours and special conditions of service.
The point was raised as to whether the extra payment of £25, if continued, required the sanction of the Salaries, Wages and Labour Committee in view of the long period it had been in force, and that it might be looked upon as part of the conditions of service. However, the Deputy Town Clerk considered that in view of the new salary scheme under which all employees would presumably receive more salary than before, even if the £25 were not added, it would seem that employees would not be entitled, from a purely legal point of view, to receive the £25 addition.
The Bank Committee then resolved that the Chairman be authorised to interview Alderman Kenrick in the presence of the Town Clerk with a view to arriving at a definite solution.