Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Lloyd's of Lime and Soda: Insurer Bans Its City Workers from Lunchtime Drinking; Exclusive

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Lloyd's of Lime and Soda: Insurer Bans Its City Workers from Lunchtime Drinking; Exclusive

Article excerpt

Byline: David Churchill

CITY workers at one of London's most historic financial institutions have reacted with fury after being told not to drink alcohol during the day.

Lloyd's of London has introduced a 9am-to-5pm booze ban that could see employees sacked for gross misconduct if caught breaking the new rule. An internal memo to employees, leaked to the Standard, reveals the ban was introduced after an analysis of grievance and disciplinary cases over the past two years found "roughly half " were related to alcohol misuse.

But workers at the insurance market -- whose history dates back to 1688 -- say they were not consulted, that they can drink "responsibly" during work hours and have hit out at the "heavyhanded" measure, flooding an internal intranet site with angry comments.

The comments, seen by the Standard, claim the ban turns the insurance market into "the PC capital of the world" and blast bosses for not concentrating on "more important things".

One worker asked: "Will we be asked to go to bed earlier soon?", while another questions whether employees face being breathalysed at work to enforce the crackdown.

The ban is among changes made to the Employee Guide, part of an overall HR policy review last year. It means Lloyd's of London employees are prohibited from drinking between 9am and 5pm from Monday to Friday. It will apply to the Corporation's 800 employees, but not brokers or underwriters from other firms based at the insurance market in Lime Street.

On the internal intranet, one worker posted: "Did I just wake up from my drunken drug- induced slumber to find we are now living in Orwell's 1984? Lloyd's used to be a fun place to work. Now it is the PC capital of the world where you can't even go out for a lunchtime pint any more?" Another said: "The real irony is that this policy comes eight weeks after the Christmas party, when staff were plied with copious amounts of alcohol all evening with very little food to be found were these the actions of a responsible employer?" Another post reads: "Will we be asked to go to bed earlier soon?" Others pointed out that bar One Under Lime, which bills itself as "one of the Square Mile's most popular drinking and dining venues", is nestled beneath the Lloyd's building just metres from their desks. …

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