Last week the number of people in self-isolation after being pinged by the NHS Covid-19 app hit a record 619,000 people. Those who are ‘pinged’ have to self-isolate for up to 10 days, although that can be longer if the person goes on to develop symptoms.

In TSB staff absences have rocketed to such an extent that larges numbers of branches have either had to close altogether or reduce opening times including Shirley, St Mary’s Place, Gateshead, Cleveleys, Blackpool and Bath to name but a few.

TSB’s problems are worse than the other banks because of staff shortages. Members will recall that in September last year, TSB announced that it was closing 164 branches between January and June 2021 and making 900 staff redundant. The vast majority of those staff have now left the business and that, combined with large numbers of staff having to isolate, has created major staff shortages which are forcing the bank to close more branches. One branch manager said: “Staffing levels are ridiculous. I’ve had to shut my branch for the 3rd time in as many weeks”. Another said: “We are at breaking point with no end is sight”.

We are aware of some staff being told to turn off their NHS Covid-19 app because branches can’t afford to have more staff isolating. Concerned members who are told to turn off their NHS Covid 19 app, should contact the Union’s Advice Team immediately. Test, trace and isolate, together with vaccinations are the way we get out of this pandemic for good. People not isolating because they have turned off the app is only going to make things worse for everyone.

The Government has introduced a limited relaxation of the isolation rules for 16 sectors of the economy including transport, energy services, NHS and food production but there is little or no chance of that being extended to cover financial services. TSB needs to review its staffing level numbers now and consider asking those that have recently left to come back to help out, even if it’s just for a short period of time. We are aware that TSB has started some limited recruitment in some areas but how those staff are going to be properly trained in the current environment is anyone’s guess.

TSB’s senior management team need to think outside the box to solve these current problems and should stop burying their collective heads in the sand hoping that the problems are going to go away. They are not, and staff deserve better.

Members with any examples of staffing level problems and what that means for the business should contact the Union’s Advice Team on 01234 716029 (choose Option 1).

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