The last thing front line staff in TSB want to read about as they head to work in the middle of the biggest pandemic since the Spanish flu in 1918 is Carol Anderson, Director, Branch Banking, rambling on about 2 pigeons observing the social distancing guidelines whilst sat on a fence. It’s not funny in normal circumstances, and it’s certainly not funny now. Motherhood and apple pie stories or titbits of personal information from senior leaders are not what’s required at a time like this. It’s a serious situation that requires a serious response.

In her message, Ms Anderson also says: “It feels very different from other banks, where all of us at TSB are leaning in and strengthening our business as we work through the situation”. The situation she refers to is a pandemic and it is different in other banks because they are not looking at “strengthening…. business” at a time like this but are focused instead on securing the health and wellbeing of their staff and customers. It seems like the TSB senior management team are looking at this crisis as a business opportunity, although that will have all been undermined by yet another IT meltdown yesterday.

Medical Reality

The aim of suppression is to reduce the reproduction number (the average number of secondary cases each virus case generates) to below one and the only way that can be done effectively is to reduce all our social interactions to those people we live with. In the real world that’s not possible but every time we leave home our social interactions increase and so does the chance of us catching or spreading the virus. For those TSB staff still going to work the chances of them catching or spreading the virus are magnified significantly. It follows that if your priority is “ensuring the safety of your staff” you would do everything humanly possible to reduce those staff working at group sites to the absolute bare minimum. It’s at moments like this we find out about people’s priorities and motivations. Debbie Crosbie needs to take control of the situation personally and do more to protect is staff. At this time, that’s her only responsibility.

Reduce Overstaffing, Now

The problem is very simple: branches and offices are either overstaffed or doing work, which is not a “necessity”. The solution is also simple: allow more branch/office staff to work from home on a rotational basis. Lloyds are starting to do that across the network – with staff in the largest branches doing one week on and one week off – and so are many other banks. Lloyds also secured 20,000 new laptops which will allow more branch/office staff to work from home.

TSB says that 400 branch staff are completing training on telephone interviews. Why? If those 400 staff are not needed to provide essential banking to vulnerable customers why are they still being asked to turn up for work? Why can’t staff ring those customers from home? Members are telling us that the interviews serve no purpose and are not appreciated by customers anyway. Instead of trying to find work for people to do, TSB should be organising the branches and offices so that more staff can work from home. It’s the working from home that’s key.

Annual Leave Rules To Be Relaxed

The Government recently announced that those workers who have not taken all of their statutory annual leave entitlement due to COVID-19 will now be able to carry it over into the next 2 years.

The Business Secretary, Alok Sharma said: “Today’s changes will mean that valued employees do not lose out on the annual leave they are entitled to as a result of their efforts, and employers are not penalised”.

Lloyds has confirmed that it will be adopting the changes and we are waiting to see what TSB will be doing. We will cover this issue in more detail once we’ve worked through the guidance.

Sunderland Contact Centre

And finally, line managers in Sunderland are conducting a witch-hunt asking staff if they contacted ‘ChronicleLive’ regarding its recent story on social distancing and working conditions in the contact centre. The witch-hunt can stop because the online newspaper got the story from one our recent Newsletter. The online newspaper is now getting copies of all our Newsletters.

Members with any issues they would like us to deal with should contact the Union’s Advice Team on 01234 716029 (choose Option 1).

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