There have recently been a number of confirmed cases of COVID 19 in Excel House, Edinburgh. In addition to deep cleaning the desks and surrounding areas where the members of staff were working, TSB also undertook a deep clean of the whole building. In addition, TSB has introduced face masks and reduced the building capacity with more staff working from home. We support what TSB is doing in Excel House.

Members will recall the problems we have highlighted in Ariel House, Sheldon in one of our previous Newsletters. TSB confirmed that another member of staff was identified as being positive in the last few days and whilst they had cleaned the desk and surrounding area, there was no deep clean of the whole building. Members have been telling us that social distancing rules are difficult to maintain on some of the floors in Ariel House. What we can’t understand is why TSB deep cleaned Excel House in Edinburgh but not Ariel House in Sheldon? Why were the two buildings treated differently when both of them have had at least two confirmed cases of COVID-19 over the last few weeks? TSB should also review the building capacity of Ariel House because there are just too many people working on some floors making social distancing impossible.

Pay 2021

With little or no bonus awards, the 2021 pay award is going to be more important than ever before. In the past – when inflation was higher than the pay pot – the bank said that inflation was not a factor it took into account when deciding pay. It would be wrong and hypocritical of TSB to use inflation as an excuse to reduce the size of the pay pot and pay increases for staff. We would expect the bank to use next year’s pay round as an opportunity to drive staff pay closer to the rate for their job. Anything else would be totally unacceptable. We hope the bank supported staff unions don’t cave in and accept the first offer, like they have done in the past. We will keep members informed of developments.

The Next Wave

The reproduction number – R – is now above one and the virus is spreading exponentially according the Government’s medical advisers. We hope that the latest measures, which the Prime Minster announced earlier in the week, will help suppress the virus. The bank has quite rightly abandoned any attempt to get staff to return to the office and has paused its meetings pilot in Keypoint and Gresham Street.

The bank says: “…we’ve taken a cautious approach so far and our number one priority has been keeping colleagues and customers safe – and nothing changes.”. That’s good to hear but the bank needs to look after its customers and customer-facing staff.

Branches have been getting back to some level of normality over the last few weeks and welcoming customers back into branches. In the latest edition of Branch News, the bank said that it “had over 8,000 appointments and contacted 5,000 people through CGOs”. The Government had told us that the main way to stop the spread of the virus is to reduce our contacts to an absolute minimum, and preferably only those in our own households or support bubbles. Proactively contacting TSB customers in order to get them to visit branches for appointments should be stopped immediately. It’s putting customers and staff at unnecessary risk.

TSB can be EPIC by protecting its customers and staff for the next few months.

The Government’s latest guidance on what we can and can’t do is coming is changing quickly. We will review what’s being said and revert back to members in future Newsletters. In the meantime, members with any questions should contact the Union’s Advice Team on 01234 716029 (choose Option 1).

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