A large number of TSB staff will continue to work from home in hybrid ways and we expect that transformation to the new ways of working will begin in Q4. TSB has not committed to an exact date, which is wise given that there is increasing speculation that if the number of new COVID cases continues to increase, especially since schools have reopened and more people have returned to work, we could face a firebreak or lockdown during the October half-term.
Whilst some members have already had one-to-one conversations about how the new ways of working will affect them, many have had no conversations at all.
We’ve said before that TSB should set out its hybrid working proposals now rather than waiting until the last minute in Q4. Moreover, it’s important that those proposals apply equally to all staff across TSB and give staff the same rights regardless of where they work. We will be monitoring the position very closely. There are already early reports of some areas telling staff they must all return to work and that working from home will be by exception. That kind of generic approach is unacceptable.
We’ve said it before but it’s worth repeating that the bank’s hybrid working model must include the following:
- Staff should have the option to spend up to 3 days a week working from home if they want.
- Staff should have the option to work from local offices or hubs rather than being required to work from their pre-pandemic place of employment on those days they are not working from home.
- A commitment to maintain current salary levels and not use the fact that staff are working from home – for up to 3 days a week – as an opportunity to reduce salary levels over time. In most cases their salaries are driven by costs where they live as much as where they work.
- A commitment not to use surveillance tools to monitor TSB staff whilst working from home. In our most recent survey, 89% of staff said that their line managers trusted them to work remotely from home.
- Where jobs are not location-dependent e.g. some network jobs, the bank should remove locations from internal job adverts with immediate effect. Given that geography is no longer a factor regarding where many staff can work, such a move would open up career opportunities to those staff who can’t apply for roles currently because they don’t live within commutable distance of the bank’s main locations.
Don’t Take It On Trust
We’ve lost count of the times over the years when members have told us that they had verbal agreements with their managers on working hours or start and finish times that have gone wrong. Verbal agreements are worthless. Managers change or get overruled by their bosses all the time. Meanwhile the members may have compromised their contractual positions.
A good illustration of the dangers comes from recent cases in TSB where people were given the clear impression by their managers that they could try new jobs and then, if they thought the jobs were unsuitable, they could opt for voluntary severance instead. So far as anyone can tell, their managers were acting in good faith but TSB was so alarmed by the number of staff opting for severance that it pulled the plug on further severance requests, leaving the people concerned high and dry. Significantly, none of the members sought our advice first. Had they done so they would have got written guarantees before they held back from severance.
So, it’s important that members get a clear understanding of the hours they are being asked to work and where they are being asked to work from Q4 onwards. We urge members to confirm those new working arrangements in writing, to avoid future disagreements over what’s been agreed.
We’ll be surveying members on the bank’s proposals once they become clearer. In the meantime, members with any questions on this newsletter should contact the Union’s Advice Team on 01234 716029 (choose Option 1).
GMP – The Next Steps
The next phase of the Union’s GMP campaign will begin to roll out in the next few weeks.
Just to recap, last November the High Court ruled that Lloyds are legally responsible for equalising the guaranteed minimum pensions (GMPs) for those men and women who transferred out of one of the defined benefit pension schemes.
We estimate that of the 30,000 staff who transferred out of one of the Lloyds schemes, more than half will require top-up payments. The average top-up payment will £3,900, with some members getting up to £25,000. We expect that the Trustee will have to pay out about £40 million in compensation to Lloyds Banking Group staff.
From 27th September every member who we believe may be affected by the judgement will receive a letter asking them to complete pro-forma covering the details of their transfer out of the pension scheme. It is important that members complete that pro-forma as quickly as possible.
As we’ve said in all our Newsletters on GMP, the processes required to determine top-up payments for thousands of members going back to 1990 are not going to be straightforward. Getting compensation, for those entitled to it, is going to be a marathon and not a sprint and members need to be patient.
Members with any questions should contact the Union’s Advice Team.
If you know of any member of staff who is not a member of TBU, please forward them a copy of this Newsletter and urge them to join the only independent trade union in TSB. They won’t regret it.