Some staff with Covid-19 related symptoms – such as a cough or a runny nose – are being told by some TSB line managers not to get tested because they might have to isolate and be off work. It seems that staffing levels are stretched so tightly in some branches, they can’t afford to have any staff off sick.
The government removed compulsory isolation for anyone in England with Covid-19 back on February 24, replacing it with guidance to stay at home for 5 days. The Scottish and Welsh governments have introduced similar policies. According to the Office for National Statistics only 53% of those who tested positive said they followed the full advice for self-isolation, down from 80% earlier in the year.
TSB is going one step further by telling staff not to get tested in the first place.
That’s a dangerous policy. The latest data shows that about 4.4 million people had the virus in their body in the week up to 9 April, down from nearly 4.9 million the week before. That’s about one in 15 people testing positive for the virus. Telling TSB staff not to get tested because they might have to isolate and cause staffing problems in some branches is wrong. It puts vulnerable TSB customers and staff at risk of catching what is still, for some, a deadly virus.
TSB should make it clear to all staff and line managers that they must continue to get tested if they have Covid-19 related symptoms. Staffing levels are no justification for pressurising staff not to get tested in the first place.
Members who have been told not to get tested should send us details of what was said to them to email@example.com. In the meantime, members with any questions on this Newsletter can contact the union’s Advice Team on 01234 716029.