Following our last newsletter on mental health in TSB, we had an overwhelming response from members about their own personal experiences. It’s clear that the effects of the migration debacle and the stress that caused staff, are still being felt. Here are some of the responses we received:
“I thought I was reading about me… disabled, mental health issues, witch hunted out of the business.”
“I still feel there is a stigma around mental health and even though they promote the wellbeing and talking openly about stress, it feels like it is brushed under the carpet in everyday life. If you have depression you are considered weak and should just get over it. I still have low days and feel scared that if my depression got a hold of me again, then my job would be in danger.”
“The bank has no interest in our wellbeing. Pinocchio springs to mind. We as branch staff saved the bank during migration; what a well planned mess they made of that. Management had no idea what we went through on a daily basis and did not care. Let’s give the staff free fruit… what a cheek, we didn’t have time to pee!”
Remember, if you’re in a similar position, you’re not alone. The Union’s Advice Team is available 24 hours a day on 01234 716029 (Option 1); our advisers can give you the practical advice and support you need in an entirely confidential environment.
And we’re the only independent union in TSB. We don’t accept financial or other support from TSB and when the chips are down we will fight your corner.
Crackdown On ‘Underperformance’
What’s also become clear, from both the feedback from the last newsletter and the calls the union’s Advice Team are receiving, is that TSB is beginning a crackdown on what the company regards as ‘underperformance’. If people have medical issues or have done anything that can be criticised or their faces don’t fit for some reason, they are coming under real pressure and the presumption has to be that TSB is going to do everything it can to manage individuals out of the business, with as little cost as possible. It’s obviously much cheaper to do that through dismissal than it is to make people redundant.
A case in point is the number of staff who were dragged in to investigatory meetings over complaints they raised as customers of the Bank during migration. Presumably, someone, somewhere up the ranks in TSB had the bright idea that hauling staff over the coals over the issue might produce some final written warnings or dismissals. The writing is very clearly on the wall: members need to protect themselves.
What You Need To Do
The Bank will almost certainly focus on three key areas: flexibility in working hours, sickness and conduct. Here’s what you need to do to protect yourself:
1. Contact us as soon as you think there might be a problem emerging, whether that’s sickness or something else, so that we can help and advise you at an early stage. Sitting on problems won’t usually make them better; it will just make them harder to sort out when push comes to shove.
2. The Bank has to behave reasonably. Recently, we’ve seen a staff member pulled in to investigatory meeting when expecting to attend a customer interview. Presumably the motive was to catch the member of staff concerned off guard and put them at a disadvantage without representation. This is utterly dishonest and there is an irony in the people who are supposed to be investigating potential dishonesty, behaving dishonestly themselves.
An Employment Judge said about the same practice in Lloyds:
“I thought it unfortunate… that the Respondent as a matter of policy does not inform its employees that an investigatory meeting is due to take place, or give the employee time in which to seek an appropriate companion… I can see no justification for the subterfuge used in this case.”
Lloyds lost the Tribunal case and subsequently changed its policy on representation in investigatory meetings. If you’re pulled in to an investigatory meeting, make it clear that you are happy to engage with the process but that you want to speak to us first. We’ll then advise you on how to proceed.
3. Don’t go in to meetings without us. It’s essential that you’re represented by us so that we can ensure you’re treated fairly. If you’re unsure whether you should be represented at a meeting, don’t take a chance. Give us a call at any time on 01234 716029.
As one member said after a recent investigatory meeting:
“If I had not been supported by the Union, I think the interview would have been very different. The investigator was not happy to wait for my Union Representative, but I am so glad I did.”
4. Talk to us. TBU is entirely independent of the Bank; we exist purely to serve the interests of our members so anything you tell us will be treated in strict confidence. If an issue is concerning you, tell us so that we can do something about it.
This is just the start of what will be a testing period for TSB staff.