You couldn’t make this stuff up if you tried. For the past few months staff in TSB have been on their knees doing everything they possibly can to save the Bank. Staff have been working round the clock to ensure that customers are looked after and that’s despite the fact the new system is still crashing on a daily basis. Instead of thanking staff for their hard work, we are aware that Area Directors in Scotland have started to approach members of staff again about changing their hours of work. The Bank needs to get a grip with what’s going on in Scotland because for many staff these unwanted conversations are the last straw. Are they really necessary now? Have the senior management team in Scotland not got better things to be doing with their time than upsetting their staff unnecessarily.

The vast majority of branch managers, who will no doubt agree with us that this isn’t the right time to be talking about hours of work, will deal with this issue sensitively. That said, last time this happened we became aware of a number of branch managers who were telling staff that if they didn’t change their hours of work (many worked fixed hours on certain days), to suit the Bank they would be given 4 weeks’ notice and their working hours would be changed automatically.

Non-signers have significantly greater legal protection, specifically in relation to their working hours and patterns of work, than staff on new contracts and we will have no hesitation in seeking to enforce those rights, including taking legal action on behalf of members should that be necessary. If you don’t want to change your contracted working hours you can’t be forced to do so regardless of what your branch manager might think or might have been told by HR.

Members who are approached about changing their working hours should contact the Union’s Advice Team on 01234 716029 (Choose Option 1) immediately.

Throwing Sabis Under The Bus

It’s clear that TSB’s latest strategy is to try push all of the blame for the IT meltdown on to Sabis. Sabis is Sabadell’s IT subsidiary and played a leading role in testing and managing the migration of customers onto the new platform. Even now on its own website Sabis is extolling the role it played in the integration. It says of the TSB migration project “What makes it stand out?” and that “The TSB Project is a strategic step forwards for both the IT department and for Sabadell’s business”. It goes onto say that “Sabis………will be there every step of the way managing everything from the strategic definition of the project and the functional and technical design, developing the core banking platform and the tools that will provide the service to TSB from 2018 onwards”. Why this is still on the Sabis website is anyone’s guess given that the migration was an unmitigated disaster.

TSB has said that it is thinking of bringing the IT platform back in house. Whether Sabadell will allow that to happen, given that they own TSB and the Proteo4Uk core banking platform, is another matter and in any event the cost of doing that will be prohibitive. TSB can ill-afford another IT disaster. And all of this talk is a smokescreen to shift the blame from Mr. Pester and his senior executive team to Sabis. It won’t work.

The Senior Managers and Certification Regime, which was introduced after the financial crisis, is designed to make senior executives more accountable for their actions.  At the Treasury Select Committee, Andrew Bailey, Chief Executive of the Financial Conduct Authority, said:

“You can outsource work—that goes on all over the place and we do it at the FCA—but you cannot outsource responsibility. That is absolutely core to this. The SMR very helpfully crystallises that directly, because it is the concept of responsibility and therefore accountability that comes through that. That accountability and responsibility does rest with the management of TSB and its senior management.”

He went on to say in respect of Sabis:

“That would be a major part of the subject of the investigation. I set out in the letter what we observed: the fact that there were attestations made by the senior management of TSB that the system was ready to go live, and that it was made by each senior manager of TSB in respect of their responsibilities. That is important because that aligns up to the Senior Managers Regime. That would be a major subject of the investigation because what must be important, as I said earlier, was that Sabis was the developer and supplier of the service and it was utilising Sabadell’s platform, but the responsibility rests with the management of TSB [TBU bolding]”.

The Union will be writing to Andrew Bailey and Rt Hon Nicky Morgan, Chair of the Treasury Select Committee, on this issue shortly. The Treasury Select Committee has published the Union’s letter to Nicky Morgan regarding the IT migration. Members can read that letter at:

Members with any questions can contact the Union’s Bedford Office on 01234 716029.

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