IT is an iconic image of the City of London - booze fuelled financial workers knocking back a liquid lunch before a busy afternoon on the trading floor.
But now, City institution Lloyds of London has banned staff from drinking alcohol within working hours, bringing an end to the historic tradition of lunchtime drinking in the industry.
Staff at the insurance market have been told that drinking alcohol is prohibited between the hours of 9am and 5pm. The organisation claims the move would bring it into line with other firms, but the decision has led staff to dub the organisation “the PC capital of the world”.
The ban is included in an updated version of the Employee Guide circulated by Lloyds’s HR department.
An internal memo circulated to staff said: “The London market historically had a reputation for daytime drinking but that has been changing and Lloyd’s has a duty to be a responsible employer, and provide a healthy working environment. The policy we’ve introduced aligns us with many firms in the market.
“Drinking alcohol affects individuals differently. A zero limit is therefore simpler, more consistent and in line with the modern, global and high performance culture that we want to embrace.”
Workers took to an internal messaging system to voice their concern.
One said: “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 anymore?”
Another asked: “Will we be asked to go to bed earlier soon?”
A Lloyd’s spokesman said: “Our employee guidance was recently updated and provided clarification on the Corporation’s position on drinking alcohol during the working day, which is prohibited.”
One Twitter user, Meetal Patel, wrote: “Just walked past @LloydsofLondon at lunchtime and was scared for my life. SOBER people everywhere!”
The move is the latest in a string of incidents which has seen the City, which has a reputation for being male dominated and alcohol-fuelled, made more politically correct.
Last year, bosses were forced to apologise after a female receptionist was sent home from a temporary job in a London financial services firm for wearing flat shoes rather than high heels.