Banks, bailouts and bonuses
Banks, bailouts and bonuses: a personal account of working in Halifax Bank of Scotland during the financial crisis
From Work, Employment & Society
Announcements made daily about the profits of some of the banks and the humongous bonuses still being paid out to bankers, understandably rile the public. Throughout the recent global financial crisis the onus has largely been placed on the reckless behavior of the banks. Following the need for the taxpayer to bailout a significant number of them, there has been an angry call for greater regulation and increased taxes for banks. For most it is incomprehensible how the banks were able to apparently gamble and fail, yet still seem to reap rewards. This article
presents a firsthand account of the crisis from a long term union activist in the in Halifax Bank of Scotland who identifies 3 types of major change since the 1990’s which she believes are the most significant precursors to the terrible financial position we are all in now.
This article presents a firsthand account of the financial crisis by ‘Margaret Taylor’, a union activist within HBOS. Overviewing more than twenty years’ experience in the sector, Margaret highlights three types of change under way since the 1990s that she sees as antecedents of the present crisis: the shift from traditional pay structures to individualised, performance based pay; the entry of retail giants geared to aggressive marketing and maximising market share; and technological innovation which facilitated workforce deskilling. The testimony deepens our understanding of a significant, contemporary event and consistent with the aims of oral history, which influenced the interviewer’s approach, provides a glimpse into the lives of those who generally do not, or cannot record their stories.
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Ellis, V., & Taylor, M. (2011). Banks, bailouts and bonuses: a personal account of working in Halifax Bank of Scotland during the financial crisis Work, Employment & Society, 24 (4), 803-812 DOI: 10.1177/0950017010380649