It seems that when it comes to TSB’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the light at the end of the tunnel has been switched off.

Debbie Crosbie and her senior executive team are paid lots and lots of money (in her case £1.5 million+ a year) to make the right decisions quickly in situations like this but that’s not happening at all. TSB is playing catch up and every decision is looked at through the lens of commerciality first rather than looking at what’s in the best interests and wellbeing of customers and staff. In our survey, which we discuss in more detail below, one member of staff said: “Why are the CEO and Board of Directors not putting the health and wellbeing of staff before customers. We are putting ourselves on the front line between 10 – 4 pm but for what. So, they can sit in the comfort of their own homes barking orders”. If Ms Crosbie wants to see what clear leadership in a crisis looks like then she should look at what Lloyds Banking Group is doing. Lloyds is not perfect but decisions are made quickly and implemented by line management right across the bank in the right way.

We have had an unprecedented response to the union’s survey which we issued yesterday. Some of the key results so far are as follows:

40% of staff are still not positioned at least 6ft away from other members of staff and customers whilst they are working. Is it any wonder that the social distancing guidelines are not being followed when you have one stupid Area Director telling staff in a conference call that: “the social distancing rule of 2 metres is not important whilst at work.” According to the Area Director, who didn’t know what social distancing was a few weeks ago, it only applies “if it is for a period of time longer than 15 minutes”. Professor Chris Whitty, Sir Patrick Valance and the Imperial College COVID team can all go home because this TSB Area Director is the oracle when it comes to COVID-19. TSB should seriously consider disciplinary action against this member of staff on the grounds of gross stupidity. And for the record, one cough can travel as fast as 50mph (100mph for a sneeze) and expel 3,000 droplets up to a distance of 2m. Hence, the 2m rule!

78% of staff have not been given dedicated equipment to use at work.

36% of staff say that their work location is either not being cleaned as normal or not being cleaned at all. One member of staff said: “We haven’t even got a cleaner in our branch as she is off self-isolating and nothing’s been done to get someone else to take up her duties”. Another said: “Our cleaner is not attending the branch. I changed the bin bags myself today as the bins were full”.

65% of branches have not been provided with hand sanitiser and only 3% of branches have been provided with face masks. 26% of branches have not been provided with gloves.

15% of staff reported that they were not given time to wash their hands regularly.

Why is it so difficult for TSB to get the basics right? Staff should not be expected to work without having the right protection. These are front line staff who are engaging with hundreds of customers every day and some of those will almost certainly have COVID-19. It’s the same with plastic screens. We understand those will be going out to branches from next week but why did it take so long? Lloyds sent them out to branches last week. All the major supermarkets introduced them overnight. Those branches without the right protection for staff should be closed immediately.

One member said: “We have had no hand sanitiser for weeks and colleagues have started to make their own using alcohol and aloe Vera. It’s that bad!”. Instead of Area Directors being part of the problem, they should be going out and buying as much protective supplies as they can locally and delivering it personally to branches themselves. In another branch a member said: “The hand sanitiser came from a branch which has been closed due to staff illness. The bank did not send any automatically to us. We have no water either. When I complained to my area manager about the fact we had no hand sanitiser last week he just said “did you order it?” The empathy from some Area Directors is overwhelming at times!

We reported on this in one of our previous Newsletters but 34% of staff said that they or their colleagues had suffered serious abuse from customers over COVID-19. Any customer who is found to be abusing staff should have their account closed automatically and told to bank elsewhere. Staff don’t come to work during a crisis like this to be abused by stupid customers. The abuse being directed at staff includes: “One customer coughed in my face as a “joke”. Others don’t like to be told to stand outside and shout abuse at you”. Another said: “Some customers are not taking this seriously. They still want us to do things the same as before. Nearly a fight in the banking hall between customers re social distancing”.

We are still analysing the survey and more results will be published in future Newsletters. In the meantime, those members who haven’t completed the survey should do so immediately. The results of the non-branch survey will be published shortly.

What, No Saturday Working?

Following the bank’s announcement that branches would be closed on Saturday, some line managers have taken it upon themselves to tell part time staff who would normally work that they must make up their hours during the week. Irrespective of contractual rights, the branches were closed by the bank and part-time staff should not be expected to make up any hours. Lloyds are not expecting their part time staff to make up the hours.

New Opening Hours

Now that branches are only open between 10am to 4pm some Area Directors are telling staff their normal working hours of 9am to 5pm still apply. They don’t. Staff start work at 10am and finish at 4pm. Both Debbie Crosbie and Carol Anderson have said that repeatedly but some Area Directors, who frankly believe they are laws unto themselves, are telling staff the exact opposite. Both Debbie Crosbie and Carol Anderson need to get a grip of the Area Directors and read them the riot act because they are making things worse not better. If they don’t get a grip of the Area Directors then we will. Area Directors have been warned for the last time. If we hear of any more stupidities like the ones above then we will name and shame Area Directors in Newsletters, in the local media and to customers. Enough is enough.

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

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