Advance was formed in the 1977 as the Abbey National Staff Association (ANSA). The Staff Association was created by employees of Abbey National who wanted to have an independent employee voice to represent them collectively in their dealings with management. Specifically, ANSA was formed following a vote by employees of the Abbey National Building Society, who considered either establishing a Trades Union or setting up a Staff Association. The outcome was to establish a Staff Association. This outcome was very close at a time when unions in the Financial Services industry were not common. In the following year, it received a Certificate of Independence.
During the next decade, the decision was taken to change from being a Staff Association to an independent Trades Union. To do this, we had to conform to the rules set by the Certification Officer which included being financially independent of the business. At this time, we changed our name to “Abbey National Group Union” (ANGU).
In 1997, a new leadership team was established, led by Linda, Rolph, which began to modernise the Union. We are proud to note that when we affiliated to the Trades Union Congress in January 1998, we were the first finance Trades Union to do so.
Abbey National plc continued to develop, acquire and sell new parts of its business. ANGU got recognition rights for all parts of the business, giving the Union wider representation in the Bank and an insight into all issues in these new areas. In obtaining recognition in new parts of the business, occasionally different parts of the Group had different agreements with the Union relating to rights to negotiate on Pay and Conditions or on the representation of individuals.
In time, Abbey National began a new strategy to refocus the Bank back to its core business and the Group began to reduce significantly in size, selling many of its subsidiary businesses. In 2004, the remaining Abbey National Group was purchased by Santander but initially retained its Abbey National name. Santander went on to purchase the Alliance & Leicester and the Retail Branch Network and Savings business of Bradford & Bingley.
It was at this time that ANGU merged with the "Union for Bradford and Bingley Staff and Associated Companies (UBAC)". By now, Santander rebranded the Abbey National businesses as Santander UK and ANGU rebranded itself as “Advance”, a name chosen to reflect our ethos and the change of identity of the business that we represented. Recently, Advance signed up to the Living Wage for all of the Union’s employees, followed by Santander.
To date, Advance is the biggest Trades Union to represents people in Santander UK. We provide a comprehensive range of services for our members, ranging from negotiation on Pay and Terms & Conditions of employment to personal representation for individuals at many meetings. Irrespective of our name, through the years Advance’s first priority has always been addressing the needs of our members.
We remain your voice at work.