Bootle Financial Services Branch visited the CWU Alvescot Training Centre for the official CWU Girobank Gym Launch. Bootle Financial Services gave the highest donation to Alvescot for the building of the Gym, with that, we were given the opportunity to name the Gym.
"Girobank was a British public sector financial institution founded in 1968 by the General Post Office.
The Wilson government placed an Act before Parliament and The Post Office's central planning department and its new Computer Division began business and technical planning for the new service.
The Post Office bought land at Bootle on Merseyside on the site of a sidings of the North Mersey Branch railway. It also built a large, purpose built office and data processing complex for the site. It was rumoured that the buildings had been planned with an alternative use as a hospital should the project be abandoned.
It started life as National Giro but went through several name changes, becoming National Girobank, then Girobank Plc (latterly trading as Alliance & Leicester Giro), before merging into Alliance & Leicester Commercial Bank (now part of Santander Corporate Banking) in 2003.
The organisation chalked up notable firsts. It was the first bank designed with computerised operations in mind; the first bank in Europe to adopt OCR (optical character recognition) technology, the first UK bank to offer free accounts to individuals; the first bank to offer interest-bearing current accounts, and the first bank in Europe to offer telephone banking, operating several years prior to the start of Midland Bank's First Direct service. It is widely credited for shaking up the UK banking market, forcing competitors to innovate and respond to the needs of the mass market.
The staff were represented by a number of trade unions at the commencement of Girobank, Clerical grades (CPSA) Service Grades (UCW) Managers (NUCPS) Catering Managers (CMA) Engineers and Photo printers (POEU)
In 1985 CPSA Postal and Telecommunications section merged with the POEU to form the NCU. In 1995 the NCU merged with the UCW to form the CWU. In (2007) ALGUS was derecognised by the Alliance and Leicester and were then subsequently balloted to join the CWU. Following a number of mergers the managers union became PCS. The managers within Santander and part of PCS were successfully balloted to become members of the CWU.
It is ironic back in 1968 there was one company (GIROBANK) and five recognised trade unions, now in 2013 there is one union in old Girobank and Alliance and Leicester recognised areas and Five companies."
On the day, our chair, John Fairclough spoke a few words about the Girobank and its journey to where we are now and the history of the union on the Bootle Site. Also we heard from Trish Lavelle who spoke about the need for Unions to care about the health of their members, and well-being, along with education. Trish also spoke about the history of Alvescot and how generous Bootle Financial Services were in their donation to the Gym.
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