We have heard stories of fighting between staff frustrated at what they can’t do, staff bursting into tears in front of customers because they are absolutely knackered and line managers going into empty rooms to vent their anger at walls that can’t answer back. Notwithstanding the Bank’s IT problems there is only so much staff can take. Given the Bank’s legal obligations for the wellbeing of its staff, the Union and its lawyers are looking at what we can do to ensure that the health and wellbeing of our members is protected.

It’s true that in many branches and offices staff are pulling together and the ‘Dunkirk spirit’ is strong. TSB will get through this mess and that will be because of the staff.  Equally, staff will appreciate that many of their head office colleagues are visiting branches to help where they can. In most cases it amounts to no more than tea, cakes and sympathy but it’s welcome nonetheless.

That said, this shambles can’t continue much longer. Staff in one branch, and we have similar stories from members in call centres and processing centres, didn’t leave until 11pm earlier in the week. One member of staff summed up the position for all staff whether they work in branches, call centres or head office when she said:

“Since this started we have worked 12 hour days every day and still have a backlog of transactions to process. We have sat and taken abuse from customers who understandably are frustrated. Our system works for a while probably half an hour at the most and then we spend the same amount of time trying to log back in meanwhile facing a queue of customers to the door, all day, every day. We currently have to tell customers that we can’t pay any bills for them, as the system won’t accept them and we have cheques waiting to be processed that the system won’t accept.

We are all literally on our knees and there have been tears on several occasions. We are all here to provide a good service to our customers but quite frankly now believe that we shouldn’t even be open at all. It is unacceptable that staff members are dealing with this situation wherever they work. I believe the Bank will now find that people will get themselves signed off sick rather than go to work and I for one am more than willing to walk out right now. After over 30 years of service this is not something that is easy to say. The whole thing is shambolic and quite frankly embarrassing”.

Where’s HR?

We haven’t heard much from the HR Director since this debacle started. Now it could be she’s helping out in her local TSB branch or inputting customer complaints but whatever she’s doing staff need to know that she’s looking after their interests. The HR Director should tell staff now that they are going to be looked after and that special counselling services will be put in place to ensure that their wellbeing is not sacrificed because of this IT meltdown.

Equally, when we proposed our £1,000 special bonus payments for all staff, paid for from confiscated bonuses from Mr. Pester and the BEC, which was after two weeks of this mess. The Bank’s IT problems could carry on for weeks and we think staff should get at least £1,000, and more if it continues much longer. Those bonus payments should be paid in either June or July salaries so that staff can put it towards the cost of a well-earned holiday or break.

Mrs Lock needs to stop prevaricating and get on with making the announcement.

The truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth

In response to this meltdown, the TSB Board has appointed the law firm, Slaughter and May, to review what went wrong with the IT migration, why it went wrong and who is responsible. The Bank said that it would publish the key findings. That’s not good enough and we have written to MPs today asking them to make sure the full report is published. Staff and customers have a right to know what happened. In our letter to MPs we have said:

“When TSB was established it said that it would be a different kind of bank and transparency would be one of its core objectives. The need for transparency dictates that a full copy of the Slaughter and May report should be sent to members of the Treasury Select Committee and made available to all members of the House of Commons so that MPs can discuss and debate what went on in the lead up to the IT migration; what went wrong with the new system after the migration; the actions of key players like Mr. Pester and the conclusions drawn by Slaughter and May.

I am sure you would agree with me that it is completely unacceptable for the TSB Board to try and sweep its IT meltdown under the carpet by publishing only the key findings of the report. Many of your constituents are TSB account holders and they have a right to know what happened and who is responsible.”

When Lloyds Banking Group announced its Q1 results a few weeks ago, it sought to distance itself from the TSB mess, with Chief Financial Officer George Culmer saying that from LBG’s perspective the migration of customer records from LBG’s IT system to TSB’s was “successfully completed”. We now understand that on Monday after the migration weekend, when it clear that TSB was in the first stages of a major IT meltdown, a director in Lloyds Banking Group’s contacted TSB to offer them the services of the Bank’s IT specialists to help sort out the problems. That offer of help was turned down by TSB. We believe that offer of help and the reasons for turning it down should be covered in the Slaughter and May report.

We will keep members informed on developments through regular Newsletters. In the meantime, members with any questions con contact the Union’s Bedford office on 01234 716029 or they can email us at 24hours@tbuonline.co.uk.

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