THE Lloyds Banking Group is to hand a £1,000 bonus to the vast majority of its staff to help them with the soaring cost of living.
The group, which operates 16 Halifax branches and a large call centre in Northern Ireland, told workers they will receive the cash bonus in August, according to an internal memo seen by the PA news agency.
The local Halifax network is due to lose the Belfast’s Shaftesbury Square branch, which will permanently close on June 28.
It is understood the payment will not be made to senior management or executives and will cover 64,182 employees, or around 99.5 per cent of the lender’s staff.
"As the rising cost of living continues to impact our people and our customers, we've been assessing the evolving outlook for inflation and considering how we can support you even further," Lloyds said in the memo.
"With that in mind, I wanted to let you know we'll be making a one-off payment of £1,000 to all our people in grades A - G which you'll receive in your August pay.
"This support is designed to help you during these uncertain economic times and is in addition to the steps we've already taken to increase the support available both to you and our customers."
The move shows the pressures on employers to support workers against the impact of price rises, after inflation struck a 40-year high of nine per cent and is expected to surpass 10 per cent later this year.
Lloyds faced calls to hand more funds to its poorest workers last month by the Unite union, which demonstrated outside its annual general meeting in Edinburgh in May following a vote among its members that rejected the company's pay offer.
The union criticised Lloyds for handing cash to shareholders through dividends but not acting to mitigate inflation facing its workers.
On Monday, Sharon Graham, Unite general secretary, said: "Unite members' collective action has put desperately-needed money into the pockets of staff on the front line.
"This victory for Unite's Lloyds Banking Group pay campaign is an important step in changing the bank's pay structures.
"Staff will welcome the £1,000 bonus but there is still a long way to go to eradicate low pay in what is one of the economy's most profitable sectors."