Barclays has spoken of its “regret” over a memo that suggested its branches should switch their television channels to entertainment shows as news broke of the banking giant’s pay and bonuses.
The bank reportedly recommended that staff turn on E4 or lifestyle channel Really, or switch off their televisions ahead of “negative coverage” about Barclays’ annual report which revealed nearly 500 staff were paid at least £1m each last year.
According to the Sun, the memo read: “It’s likely there will be some media interest. We’d like to give you the heads up so you can change the channel in your branch to support colleagues in the event there is negative coverage.
“We recommend Really, which covers DIY and lifestyle programmes, or E4, which includes entertainment shows.
“Alternatively, as a last resort find the power source and turn off the TV.”
Barclays has not revealed the author of the memo but denied it was an “instruction” for staff to change television channels.
A spokeswoman for Barclays said: “We regret that our communication to colleagues has been interpreted as an instruction to change TV channels. The TV screens in our branches are tuned to one channel, typically news.
“Some branch staff asked whether they could change the channel if they felt the programme unsuitable.
“We encourage our staff to use their discretion and confirmed that they could do so and gave practical advice how to. We did not direct colleagues to change the TV channel.”
Barclays revealed plans this week to pay its boss nearly £1m in share allowances on top of salary and bonuses.
The annual report showed Antony Jenkins, chief executive, will be paid £950,000 this year in quarterly instalments. It also revealed 481 Barclays staff were in the millionaires club, up from 428 in 2012.