Page last updated at 09:13 GMT, Friday, 27 February 2009

'Bank staff deserve bonuses too'

Shelia Kettle, HBOS worker
Frontline staff work hard for their bonuses, says Ms Kettle

Despite government demands for banks to limit bonus payments amid the current turmoil in the banking world, HBOS worker Sheila Kettles believes she is worth every penny of her potential pay-out.

HBOS itself was forced into a takeover by Lloyds TSB as the bank racked up record losses in the midst of the banking crisis.

But far from being a manager or trader pocketing huge amounts of cash, Ms Kettles took home an additional 800 last year on top of her 14,600 salary.

Based in an HBOS contact centre in the centre of Dundee, she says that bonuses are vital for front line workers like her.

"I think it's very fair that ordinary bank workers get bonuses," she says.

She argues that most bonuses are targeted - 75% of her bonus last year was performance related - based on a mix of sales and own her own performance - while the final 25% relied on the bank's performance.

Meanwhile, most lower level jobs in the industry are advertised as a package, which is usually a basic salary bonus plus free shares or share incentive schemes as their package.

Fair pay

"To take away a part of that bonus is more or less asking them to take a pay cut," she adds.

The extra income a bonus delivers is also vital to frontline staff, Ms Kettle says.

"I actually spoke to some of my colleagues to see what they were using their bonus for, a lot of them are using it to pay off credit card bills from Christmas.

"One of my colleagues said it would be nice to go and do the weekly shop and put what they wanted into their shopping basket for a change, rather than cheaper cuts. That's what it means to people working in the finance industry."

But she does concede that the bonus culture within the banking sector should be brought under control.

Fat cats

If a financial group is doing badly, bosses should step back and reconsider the way bonuses are decided depending on what their targets were, Ms Kettle says.

"The executives, the fat cats they're normally targeted on the growth of the business the share price, Now with on what's gone on over the past year, no they're not entitled to that part of the bonus.

"However, the people at the lower end of the scale have actually done what's been asked of them, and they've met those targets so of course they're entitled to that bonus however small it is."

Overall though, Ms Kettles would like to see an end to bonuses entirely, saying: "I think we should get a fair day's pay for a fair days work."

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