Staff Unrest

SBA Bulletin, issue no. 3, May 1920.
SBA Bulletin, issue no. 3, May 1920.

Staff salaries had fallen seriously behind the cost of living during the war. Little changed in the immediate post-war period, with high inflation but minimal increases in pay. For those who had served, this seemed poor recompense for the sacrifices they had made.

In Scotland, discontent led to the establishment of the Scottish Bankers’ Association (SBA). Registered as a trade union in April 1919, its first priority was to raise wage levels for its members. But the banks refused to recognise the Association, let alone negotiate.

This edition of the SBA Bulletin, issued in May 1920, shows the strength of feeling at the time.  The headline article – peppered with militaristic phrases - urges members to support the Association’s demands: ‘Recognition will mean a New Life for the Bankmen in Scotland’.

This was never forthcoming.  However, formation of the SBA did encourage banks to set up their own staff councils, ‘to secure co-operation in… domestic affairs’.  Salary levels and general working conditions did improve.

The SBA continued to campaign through the interwar years.  In 1946, it merged with its English counterpart, the Bank Officers’ Guild, to form the National Union of Bank Employees.

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