I’m not going to insult your intelligence by saying I’m going to open a TSB account at the first opportunity like the leader of the HR approved union said last week. The last thing staff in Bedford need is me joining the queue outside the branch. Equally, I’m not going to say that we understand exactly what you are going through because we don’t.
But what we are going to do is make sure that your stories in the face of worst IT banking meltdown in living memory are told, so that Paul Pester and his Senior Management team know exactly what’s going on and ensure that every second of their waking hours are devoted to making sure they are helping you and your customers. Rest assured those who created this meltdown in London and Barcelona will be held to account. The days of senior executives being able to walk away from the mess they have created with big pay offs are long gone.
Let’s be clear what’s happening to TSB is not an IT problem, it’s a management problem. If TSB’s Managing Director had spent more time listening to his staff and TBU about the problems with Proteo and the training given to staff and less time pontificating on all things banking, TSB would not be in the mess it is today. That will become clear today when he gives evidence to the Treasury Select Committee.
In a letter to Dame Sandra Dawson, Chair of the TSB Remuneration Committee, in February we said: “The migration plan was cancelled at the last minute because work on large parts of the new platform had not been completed on time, testing was still to be done and the testing that had been completed showed the system was not stable enough for customer role out”.
If TSB had taken due notice of our concerns regarding the migration of customers onto Proteo4UK, which were coming directly from members working on the project and involved in the testing, TSB’s IT meltdown could have been avoided.
TSB’s Pinocchio Moments
Since this crisis began TSB has been maintaining that the branches and contact centres were operating normally. We now know officially that was not true. Staff have been saying since last Monday that the new counter system wasn’t working, and still isn’t working in many cases, but the Bank kept repeating that branches were working normally.
In his letter to Rt Hon Nicky Morgan, Chair of the Treasury Select Committee, Mr Pester admitted that by Friday, 27th April, the new counter technology was not functioning properly in 40% of TSB branches. In about 60 TSB branches the counter technology was not functioning at all. Why did the Bank keep repeating the statement that branches were working normally when they knew it was wrong? It made matters worse because customer started going to branches expecting to carry out certain transactions when they couldn’t be done in the branches.
On 27th April, Banco Sabadell, TSB’s parent company, said when announcing its Q1 2018 results that: “From day one the Proteo4UK platform has provided the usual service to branches”. That was a blatant whopping lie. How Banco Sabadell could make such a statement when they knew that 4 out of 10 TSB branches were not providing the “usual service” to customers is beyond us.
Contact and Processing Centres
Staff in the Bank’s contact and processing centres have also had to deal with technology failures and a massive increase in the volume of customer calls. Mr Pester also admitted last week that “technology failures leading to an intermittent IVR, means that the call wait times and abandon rates have remained high”. That’s a massive understatement. Staff in the Bank’s call centres have suffered some of the worst abuse from customers over matters they can’t control or fix. Staff have been working 12-hour shifts which consist of nothing but verbal abuse. Most staff are working extra hours to cope with the problems and many staff, despite the levels of abuse from customers, are coming in on their days off to help out their colleagues.
We are also aware that staff in many parts of the Bank are abandoning business as usual activity and helping out their colleagues with things like customer complaints. The whole of TSB is now dealing with this crisis.
Compensation For All Staff
In addition to the Union’s compensation claim for all staff, which is set out below, we believe that Mr. Pester should write to all members individually apologising for the IT meltdown and thanking them for their hard work. That’s the very least he can do.
In addition the Bank should now commit:
- To giving all TSB staff a one off payment of £1,000. That can be easily funded by not paying any bonuses to members of the BEC and recovering integration bonuses paid in previous years.
- To ensuring that all staff working beyond their contracted hours are paid double time.
- Not seeking to claw back the extra costs it’s incurred as a result of the IT meltdown by making redundancies once the dust has settled. Equally, we would expect the Bank to commit to maintaining the current severance terms and not to try and get rid of staff on the cheap.
We would like to hear from members about their continuing experiences of migration. Members can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.