The bankers’ bonuses polemic has got me thinking. I have been grappling with my thoughts about the Monopoly money bonus figures of the erstwhile bosses and what a bonus means for people on the ground.
I am not writing in defence of the bonus culture, far from it. This issue though, does hit the lower level staff in the guts, the majority of them do not get the high wages their boardroom and senior bosses have been used to acquiring. A meeting with a Royal Bank of Scotland teller last year, keeps jumping to mind every time I hear a discussion on this matter. The meeting was well before the October banking crisis news broke.
The teller was a part time employee. There had been sickness, people on courses and holidays. She had been asked to stay longer at work than her salaried hours and work extra days, for which, when I met with her, she had just been told she would not be remunerated in cash, as the branch had reached its budget limits. She would have to find hours or days to have time in lieu, when it suited the branch’s staffing needs. Her goodwill had totally evaporated. Payments would have been welcome as this was a single parent with two children (through marital breakdown). A bonus in this case, would have been worked for and deserved.
There is so much focus on the immoral aspects of the ‘bonus culture’ as it is called, that you lose sight of the human element, the place where the majority ordinary employees are to be found.