In a recent letter to the Chairman of the Treasury Select Committee, Richard Meddings, Chairman of TSB, said that “TSB is at, or functioning, close to normal for the majority of TSB customers” Mr Meddings needs to get out more and see what’s actually going on in branches, contact centres and processing centres because things are not getting any better, either for staff or customers, and there doesn’t appear to be any end in sight. Staff have had no communications from the Bank updating them about what’s going on or gives them any hope about when the IT meltdown is likely to be resolved. In the last few days we have seen a major outage in the branch network which left most branches without any IT infrastructure for most of the day.
Staff can’t hold on any longer and they need to start looking after themselves rather than the Bank. The Bank has shown absolutely no loyalty to staff. In an email we received yesterday, which is very similar to the emails we have received from a number of members over the last week or so, the member said:
“I and my team colleagues have spent another exhausting day stressed to the maximum dealing with customers who are now at the end of their patience with waiting in queues for 15 to 25 minutes to be served every time they come into a branch and also the time it takes to serve them. The queues are long and the pressure on all colleagues is relentless. All day every day.
This has all been said before and I know every colleague is feeling just as stressed and exhausted as I am.
With no end in sight and no communication to us from Paul Pester as to how long we are expected to work under the conditions we are suffering I would now like to request Union backing for a strike.
I feel we have no other alternative, but to request this action as no one is listening to us from our management team. This absolute debacle has to come to an end, as I personally cannot work under these conditions much longer. I resent this feeling of utter inadequacy that now haunts me. I resent how I can’t sleep at night worrying about how the next day will be. I resent the strain I feel the minute a queue forms two minutes after opening time and I resent feeling desperate enough to want to take the extreme action of wanting to strike”.
The Union will be conducting a survey, which will enable us to get the views of members quickly on a range of issues, over the next few days. When members get that survey they should return it immediately and the results will be published in a future Newsletter.
Overtime Working & Your Rights
A number of members have asked whether they are legally required to work overtime. It depends what it says in the members contract of employment but most will say that an employee would be expected to work a ‘reasonable’ number of extra hours when required to do so and will say how those extra hours will be rewarded. If the extra hours are not being rewarded under the Bank’s Overtime Policy then staff can refuse to overtime. The Court has defined ‘reasonable’ as a few extra hours per week. The vast majority of staff in TSB have been working extra hours each day over the last two months. And some staff may even have breached the Working Time Directive since the meltdown began but that’s something we will deal with in a separate Newsletter. If members don’t want to work any more overtime, and that’s an individual decision that can only be made by the member of staff, then they simply need to inform their line manager accordingly. If the line manager, and most are dealing with this IT meltdown as professionally as possible, tries to insist that you work overtime you should contact the Union’s Bedford Office immediately
Increased Stress & Anxiety
Since the IT meltdown began members have complained about feeling stressed out, increasingly anxious about going into work and feelings of inadequacy in not being able to help customers. We reported in a previous Newsletter that the levels of sickness in TSB have gone through the roof since the migration weekend. The Bank has shown a complete lack of regard for the wellbeing of staff over the last few weeks and we have seen nothing from HR to line managers providing guidance on how to deal with these issues. Simply telling staff that it’s getting better is not going to work anymore. Our advice to members is that their health and wellbeing is far too important for them to suffer because of an issue over which they have no control. It’s the actions of the Bank’s top managers that have put staff in this position. Given that this shambles is set to continue for months, whatever the Union and its members choose to do, we would advise members who are suffering from increased stress and anxiety levels to go and see their GPs or at the very least contact the Union’s Advice Team who will be able to offer help and support.
Members with any questions can contact the Union’s Bedford office on 01234 716029 or they can email us at email@example.com.