It’s still the biggest issue we come across everyday. Parts of TSB’s branch network are operating at almost breaking point because of staffing level shortages and migration could tip some of those branches over the edge, especially if we see a big influx of customers going into branches. We all hope that migration is a success but if there are customer issues, then it will be front-line staff, both in branches and call centres, who will be left to pick up the pieces. What’s interesting is that Lloyds Banking Group recently announced the creation of 375 front-line branch roles because customers are sick and tired of overstretched branches that can’t cope. We hope TSB takes notice. If Paul Pester and the Bank’s Senior Management team had not wasted £70 million on delaying the migration of customers onto Proteo4UK, then that money could have been invested into front-line services.
Some of the issue we hear about from members in branches up and down the country are truly frightening. These are just some of the examples:
- Staff meeting up in public car parks to exchange keys so that branches can be opened up.
- Staff being told at 8.30 am whilst on the way to work in their base branch to report to another branch at the other side of the city. The branch they were going to couldn’t open its doors until the member of staff arrived, so a makeshift sign was put on the front door of the branch telling customers that it would be open at 10 am. That sign was subsequently changed to 10.30, when the member of staff got stuck in traffic.
- Branch staff having to ring customers at the last minute to cancel lending, account opening and bereavement appointments because there are not enough staff available to see them. In one branch, some customers were contacted on two separate occasions to cancel appointments. When you are a Challenger Bank up against the ‘Big Five’ you can’t afford to do that but local management had no choice.
- Staff not being able to leave the branch on their lunch breaks because if they do the branch will not be able to open. Staff sit in the banking hall eating their lunch just so they can see the member of staff working on the counter. In some branches the walkie-talkies, which allow staff to keep in contact when they can’t physically see each other, don’t work properly.
- Staff members being phoned at home on their day off because the relief staff working in the branch can’t open the safe. In a number of cases members have had to go in to open the branch on their day off and wait until the relief staff arrive to take over.
- Staff have got TOIL hours stacked up but no way of taking them because of local staffing level shortages. Members in this position should contact the Union’s Bedford Office and we will advise them how to make sure they get the hours back.
Members of staff are being put in the invidious position of having to decide which procedures to follow and which not to follow just to make sure their branches can function on a daily basis. You can rest assured that if something goes wrong, it will be individual members of staff who are blamed and not the senior management who put them in that position. TBU will be undertaking a staffing levels survey to get to the bottom of what’s going on but in the meantime members who have experienced similar kinds of incidents to the ones we have described above should contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.