Campaign For Branch Staff

TSB Respond To Union Call For One-Off Bonus

Members will recall that in one of our previous Newsletters in early April – ‘Bonuses For Front-Line Staff’- we said that front-line staff should get a one-off bonus to reflect the fact that by going to work every day they are putting themselves and their families at increased risk.

Today, TSB has responded to our claim and is offering all front-line staff working in branches, call centres and operational centres a one off payment of £500. The money will be paid in next month’s pay. Debbie Crosbie and the TSB Executive Committee should be congratulated for responding to our claim so quickly. However, it’s only a start and there should be further payments throughout the course of 2020 to reflect the work being done by front-line staff.

Tonight, once again people across the UK will take part part in a “Clap for Key Workers” tribute, saluting NHS staff, care workers and other key workers dealing with the coronavirus pandemic. Bank staff, delivery drivers, supermarket staff and bin collectors were among those honoured by the nation. TSB front-line staff should be proud of the work they are doing.

In an open letter to all financial services staff working on the front-line, John Glen MP, Economic Secretary said:

“The Government has always been clear that the financial sector has a vital role to play at a time when many face financial difficulty.

That is why the Government asked schools and childcare providers to continue to provide care for children whose parents are critical to the COVID-19 response, including those of you needed for essential financial services provision. The essential services that you provide – such as requests for payment holidays, powers of attorney, and notifications of death – will be a lifeline to many during this period. The Government has advised that wherever possible people should work from home.

I am encouraged by the way the sector has responded and am confident that you will continue to meet these challenges.

Finally, I have also been very encouraged to hear about specific examples of the support being provided by many of you to the most vulnerable customers.

This includes herculean efforts to help customers who are facing acute financial difficulty, as well ensure that those that are self-isolating can access cash, complete their everyday banking online, and even access food and medication. It is these actions that will be remembered for getting the nation through this crisis.

There is still a lot for us to do in the face of these challenges, and I welcome your ongoing support as we work to ensure we minimise the impact on consumers, businesses and the wider UK economy.

I commend you all for making a hugely valuable and critical contribution to the resilience of our nation at this most challenging time.”

Mr Glen makes the point about home working wherever possible, something which we don’t think TSB has got right, but that’s for another Newsletter.

We will also be writing to the Chancellor in the next few days asking him to guarantee that bonuses paid to key front-line staff in essential businesses are free from tax and national insurance.

Branch Survey Results: The Message Is Clear – 07.04.20

In summary:

  • The majority of the feedback focused on the fact that there are too many staff in branches.
  • The extended working hours of 10am to 4pm are unnecessary.
  • 65% of respondents said more staff been told to report for work than are needed to provide essential banking services to customers.
  • 71% said staff being told to do work other than providing essential banking services e.g. cleaning, tidying up, telemarketing.
  • 38% said staff in their branch were doing jobs they could do from home.
  • 10% of respondents said that their branches still don’t have protective screens. Of those 54% said they hadn’t been promised.
  • 60% of respondents had been asked to buy cleaning products themselves.
  • 9% of respondents said a security guard had been requested at their branch but of those, 58% said that one hadn’t been provided.
  • 14% had been asked to work 9am to 5pm, mostly to ‘work back’ Saturday hours.

Click here to read the full analysis of the results.

Bonuses For Front-Line Staff – 07.04.20

Last week people across the UK took part in a second “Clap for Carers” tribute, saluting NHS staff and other key workers dealing with the coronavirus pandemic. Delivery drivers, supermarket staff, bank staff, care workers and bin collectors were among those honoured by the nation.

Front-line staff working in organisations like M&S, Tesco, Aldi, Asda have all been given ‘thank-you’ bonuses ranging from 10% to 15%. Morrisons is giving its staff a one-off bonus of £1,050. Each of BT’s 100,000 employees is to be given shares worth £500. Front-line staff in the TSB and all those working in bank sites who are taking the greatest risk coming into work are some of the lowest paid staff in the bank. A one-off bonus, for example, worth at least 15% of salary for the period of this crisis seems only fair for these front-line staff.

TSB’s Executive Committee should get its cheque book open now.

We will also be writing to the Chancellor asking him to guarantee that bonuses paid to key front-line staff in essential businesses are free from tax and national insurance.

Time For Action – 06.04.20

If Lloyds and other banks can do it, so can TSB. Since Lloyds introduced “essential banking” the number of branch transaction has fallen by 80%. TSB has been more relaxed about what constitutes “essential banking” but members are telling us that the number of transactions has fallen dramatically over the last week.

From this week, the largest branches in Lloyds are introducing shifts with staff divided into two teams working one week on and one week off. In some of the smaller branches staff are working 2 days on and 2 days off. Banking Consultants are being given new laptops to enable them to work from home helping Connect customers. We understand that in Santander staff in the largest branches are working one week on and two weeks off.

Why does TSB still maintain the position that it wants as many front-line staff as possible still working in bank sites rather than allowing them to work home, even if they’re just doing training?

Jo Harris, Managing Director, Lloyds Community Bank said: “I want to be clear that we do not intend to call on colleagues to travel to work unless it is absolutely necessary to provide an essential service”. Yet it appears TSB is determined to do the exact opposite, calling staff into bank sites even though they have got nothing essential to do or what they are doing could quite easily be done from home.

Wales Introduces Coronavirus Law To Protect Workers.

Employers in Wales will be breaking the law from tomorrow if they do not make sure that staff are able to maintain the 2-metre social distancing rule. The law requires employers to take “all reasonable actions” to comply with the 2-metre rule and that could include closing down offices. The union and its lawyers are currently reviewing the new law. If we feel TSB is breaking the law in offices and branches then we will not hesitate in using it to protect our members.

The First Minister, Mark Drayford, said: “It is simply saying to employers they must put the needs of their workforce first. Their health and wellbeing must be top of the agenda”.

Saturday Working, Really

In our last Newsletter we asked Carol Anderson, Director, Branch Banking, if it was right that part-time staff should be asked to make up their Saturday hours during the week. We don’t need an answer because it appears Ms Anderson told line management that’s what they had to do in the first place. In a ‘Branch Manager – Corona Check-In’ line managers are asked to confirm that they have discussed with part-time staff either amending working patters or working from home to make up hours lost on a Saturday. That’s outrageous.

Isn’t it interesting that when working from home suits TSB it can be done at the drop of a hat but when it suites members of staff it’s impossible?

Irrespective of contractual rights, the branches were closed by the bank and part-time staff should not be expected to make up any hours on days they would not normally work. Many of those part-time staff will have worked lots of unpaid overtime during the IT meltdown.

Transparency Needed

TSB needs now to issue a clear, unambiguous statement of its policy on who should or shouldn’t be at work and we need to know that each of the key players: Debbie Crosbie, Carol Anderson and Robin Bulloch is committed to that policy.

Policies cascaded down the management line and not made known to staff are bound to arouse suspicion that the Bank actually does want everyone in work, whether staff have essential work to do or not. Leaving branch managers in doubt about what they should do, just shifts to them a responsibility, for which people up above them are paid very large salaries indeed.

Saturday Working, Really – 02.04.20

Since the bank announced its new opening hours, lots of part-time staff have now been asked to make up their Saturday hours during the week. Lots of line managers are taking a common sense approach to this issue but it seems that some Area Directors are determined to extract every hour of work from staff, regardless of COVID-19. That’s unacceptable.

Irrespective of contractual rights, the branches were closed by the bank and part-time staff should not be expected to make up any hours. Many of those part-time staff will have worked lots of unpaid overtime during the IT meltdown. In the current climate, this type of hard headed management opportunism will make for a good media story. So, instead of writing about pigeons, Carol, answer this question. Do you think it’s right?

Lloyds are not expecting their part-time staff to make up the hours.

Forget The Pigeons – 02.04.20

The last thing front line staff in TSB want to read about as they head to work in the middle of the biggest pandemic since the Spanish flu in 1918 is Carol Anderson, Director, Branch Banking, rambling on about 2 pigeons observing the social distancing guidelines whilst sat on a fence. It’s not funny in normal circumstances, and it’s certainly not funny now. Motherhood and apple pie stories or titbits of personal information from senior leaders are not what’s required at a time like this. It’s a serious situation that requires a serious response.

In her message, Ms Anderson also says: “It feels very different from other banks, where all of us at TSB are leaning in and strengthening our business as we work through the situation”. The situation she refers to is a pandemic and it is different in other banks because they are not looking at “strengthening…. business” at a time like this but are focused instead on securing the health and wellbeing of their staff and customers. It seems like the TSB senior management team are looking at this crisis as a business opportunity, although that will have all been undermined by yet another IT meltdown yesterday.

Medical Reality

The aim of suppression is to reduce the reproduction number (the average number of secondary cases each virus case generates) to below one and the only way that can be done effectively is to reduce all our social interactions to those people we live with. In the real world that’s not possible but every time we leave home our social interactions increase and so does the chance of us catching or spreading the virus. For those TSB staff still going to work the chances of them catching or spreading the virus are magnified significantly. It follows that if your priority is “ensuring the safety of your staff” you would do everything humanly possible to reduce those staff working at group sites to the absolute bare minimum. It’s at moments like this we find out about people’s priorities and motivations. Debbie Crosbie needs to take control of the situation personally and do more to protect is staff. At this time, that’s her only responsibility.

Reduce Overstaffing, Now

The problem is very simple: branches and offices are either overstaffed or doing work, which is not a “necessity”. The solution is also simple: allow more branch/office staff to work from home on a rotational basis. Lloyds are starting to do that across the network – with staff in the largest branches doing one week on and one week off – and so are many other banks. Lloyds also secured 20,000 new laptops which will allow more branch/office staff to work from home.

TSB says that 400 branch staff are completing training on telephone interviews. Why? If those 400 staff are not needed to provide essential banking to vulnerable customers why are they still being asked to turn up for work? Why can’t staff ring those customers from home? Members are telling us that the interviews serve no purpose and are not appreciated by customers anyway. Instead of trying to find work for people to do, TSB should be organising the branches and offices so that more staff can work from home. It’s the working from home that’s key.

Why Are More TSB Staff Not Homeworking? 30.03.20

It’s amazing how quickly TSB was to ensure that staff who were self-isolating at home but had no COVID – 19 symptoms were working. At the close of business on 19th March, 465 members of staff were self-isolating for 14 days.

If it can find work for those staff, then lots more could now be working from home cutting down their risks of catching the virus. The Government has repeatedly said employers must make all efforts to help staff to work from home. We appreciate that banking is a key public service but TSB could be doing a lot more to stop the spread of this virus by allowing more homeworking across all areas of the bank.

Branch, contact centre and processing centre staff could be working from home, on a rotational basis if necessary, to do some of the following tasks:

  • Outbound calling to vulnerable customers
  • Conversational calling answering simple questions and offering general customer support
  • Back Office processing including processing of mortgage payment holidays.
  • Intranet training via SharePoint to enable them to upskill on procedures/training videos etc

We would like to hear from members who are currently being told to come to work when that work is either non-essential or could be done at home. For TSB staff working per se is not the problem, it’s the fact that every time they leave their homes, they are putting themselves and their families at risk especially when the Government is telling everyone else to stay indoors. One member today said she was: “ in a branch with 11 members of staff !! 11 !! How can we be 2m from each other ??

This is getting very, very frightening now – TSB appear to be flouting government rulings – staff are even suggesting shifts but this is falling on deaf ears – will it take a staff member falling ill or worse for the senior management to take notice???”. No employer should unnecessarily put their staff in that position. 

Overstaffing

The obvious related issue is where any bank but TSB in the case is bringing people into work simply because it can, not because it needs to. TSB needs to stop trying to offer a normal service and to bring into work only the bare number of staff needed to provide basic banking services to customers.

This is about sacrificing commercial objectives for a short time to protect the health of the TSB’s staff.

If the people in Gresham Street think working in branches is safe they should join the front-line tomorrow morning and share the risk!

Protection Screens, Now

If Morrisons, Aldi, Lidl, Sainsbury, Tesco and Waitrose have put up Perspex protection screens in their stores then why hasn’t TSB? Lloyds did it last week and so have most of the other banks.

TSB says that those screens will be rolled out to branches from today. We would expect all branches to have their screens fitted by the end of week given the valuable protection they provide to staff.

If your branch hasn’t got a protection screen by then, contact the Union’s Advice Team and we will publish a daily list of branches naming and shaming the top managers who are not protecting their staff. TSB has had enough time to source these screens and we want them in as quickly as possible. No more delays.

Some area director groups are better than others when it comes to protecting the health and wellbeing of staff. The Area Director who said that social distancing didn’t apply at work is a classic example of the kind of stupidity that we want to stamp out as soon as possible. We rely on members telling us what’s happening locally. TSB will say things centrally but when that’s communicated down the management chain what’s comes out at branch level is invariably different. If there are things going on in your group which fall short of what TSB is saying centrally or anything which you feel we should be aware of then contact the Advice Team immediately.

“I Welcome Their Hate….”

And finally, one Senior Manager recently said to her branch managers: “Despite the challenges we are all facing, TBU are continuing their quest to cause further unrest and disruption……”. TBU is the largest trade union in TSB and we are doing our job. In respect of COVID 19, that job is about protecting the health and wellbeing of our members and we will do whatever it takes to do that. TSB’s senior management team from Debbie Crosbie downwards have been slow to react to the crisis and that’s putting our members at risk. We are not going to stand by and allow that to continue. The Senior Manager should be spending her time making sure the branches in her area have Perspex screens rather than pontificating about the role of trade unions. And let’s be honest, the HR-approved unions are nowhere to be seen in this crisis. To paraphrase a famous quote from an American President, we welcome their hatred because it shows that we are doing our jobs properly.

One member said” “It’s really reassuring to see the union speak on behalf of many of us members who all feel the same. The bank’s not doing enough to protect its staff”. The views of our members are the only ones that matter to us.

Get A Grip Debbie, Now – 27.03.20

It seems that when it comes to TSB’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the light at the end of the tunnel has been switched off.

Debbie Crosbie and her senior executive team are paid lots and lots of money (in her case £1.5 million+ a year) to make the right decisions quickly in situations like this but that’s not happening at all. TSB is playing catch up and every decision is looked at through the lens of commerciality first rather than looking at what’s in the best interests and wellbeing of customers and staff. In our survey, which we discuss in more detail below, one member of staff said: “Why are the CEO and Board of Directors not putting the health and wellbeing of staff before customers. We are putting ourselves on the front line between 10 – 4 pm but for what. So, they can sit in the comfort of their own homes barking orders”. If Ms Crosbie wants to see what clear leadership in a crisis looks like then she should look at what Lloyds Banking Group is doing. Lloyds is not perfect but decisions are made quickly and implemented by line management right across the bank in the right way.

We have had an unprecedented response to the union’s survey which we issued yesterday. Some of the key results so far are as follows:

40% of staff are still not positioned at least 6ft away from other members of staff and customers whilst they are working. Is it any wonder that the social distancing guidelines are not being followed when you have one stupid Area Director telling staff in a conference call that: “the social distancing rule of 2 metres is not important whilst at work.” According to the Area Director, who didn’t know what social distancing was a few weeks ago, it only applies “if it is for a period of time longer than 15 minutes”. Professor Chris Whitty, Sir Patrick Valance and the Imperial College COVID team can all go home because this TSB Area Director is the oracle when it comes to COVID-19. TSB should seriously consider disciplinary action against this member of staff on the grounds of gross stupidity. And for the record, one cough can travel as fast as 50mph (100mph for a sneeze) and expel 3,000 droplets up to a distance of 2m. Hence, the 2m rule!

78% of staff have not been given dedicated equipment to use at work.

36% of staff say that their work location is either not being cleaned as normal or not being cleaned at all. One member of staff said: “We haven’t even got a cleaner in our branch as she is off self-isolating and nothing’s been done to get someone else to take up her duties”. Another said: “Our cleaner is not attending the branch. I changed the bin bags myself today as the bins were full”.

65% of branches have not been provided with hand sanitiser and only 3% of branches have been provided with face masks. 26% of branches have not been provided with gloves.

15% of staff reported that they were not given time to wash their hands regularly.

Why is it so difficult for TSB to get the basics right? Staff should not be expected to work without having the right protection. These are front line staff who are engaging with hundreds of customers every day and some of those will almost certainly have COVID-19. It’s the same with plastic screens. We understand those will be going out to branches from next week but why did it take so long? Lloyds sent them out to branches last week. All the major supermarkets introduced them overnight. Those branches without the right protection for staff should be closed immediately.

One member said: “We have had no hand sanitiser for weeks and colleagues have started to make their own using alcohol and aloe Vera. It’s that bad!”. Instead of Area Directors being part of the problem, they should be going out and buying as much protective supplies as they can locally and delivering it personally to branches themselves. In another branch a member said: “The hand sanitiser came from a branch which has been closed due to staff illness. The bank did not send any automatically to us. We have no water either. When I complained to my area manager about the fact we had no hand sanitiser last week he just said “did you order it?” The empathy from some Area Directors is overwhelming at times!

We reported on this in one of our previous Newsletters but 34% of staff said that they or their colleagues had suffered serious abuse from customers over COVID-19. Any customer who is found to be abusing staff should have their account closed automatically and told to bank elsewhere. Staff don’t come to work during a crisis like this to be abused by stupid customers. The abuse being directed at staff includes: “One customer coughed in my face as a “joke”. Others don’t like to be told to stand outside and shout abuse at you”. Another said: “Some customers are not taking this seriously. They still want us to do things the same as before. Nearly a fight in the banking hall between customers re social distancing”.

We are still analysing the survey and more results will be published in future Newsletters. In the meantime, those members who haven’t completed the survey should do so immediately. The results of the non-branch survey will be published shortly.

What, No Saturday Working?

Following the bank’s announcement that branches would be closed on Saturday, some line managers have taken it upon themselves to tell part time staff who would normally work that they must make up their hours during the week. Irrespective of contractual rights, the branches were closed by the bank and part-time staff should not be expected to make up any hours. Lloyds are not expecting their part time staff to make up the hours.

New Opening Hours

Now that branches are only open between 10am to 4pm some Area Directors are telling staff their normal working hours of 9am to 5pm still apply. They don’t. Staff start work at 10am and finish at 4pm. Both Debbie Crosbie and Carol Anderson have said that repeatedly but some Area Directors, who frankly believe they are laws unto themselves, are telling staff the exact opposite. Both Debbie Crosbie and Carol Anderson need to get a grip of the Area Directors and read them the riot act because they are making things worse not better. If they don’t get a grip of the Area Directors then we will. Area Directors have been warned for the last time. If we hear of any more stupidities like the ones above then we will name and shame Area Directors in Newsletters, in the local media and to customers. Enough is enough.

Please do email us at in.confidence@tbuonline.co.uk if you have something to tell us. For advice, please call us on 01234 716029 (choose Option 1) or email us at 24hours@tbuonline.co.uk.

Abuse By Customers On The Rise – 26.03.20

In one of her previous notes, Carol Anderson, Director, Branch Banking TSB said: “I know that it is not bringing out the best in some of our customers and thank you for remaining firm and reasonable through your interactions”. 

That’s a major understatement based on some of the reports we are getting back from TSB branches. We understand that one branch manager was recently assaulted and we’ve lost count of the number of staff that have been spat at by customers. Verbal abuse of staff by disgruntled customers is now almost routine in some branches and contact centres. It’s also the case that in many branches customers still don’t seem to think that the social distancing rules apply to them. Lloyds has got branch floors taped up telling customers where they can and can’t stand and customers are told, in no uncertain terms, how to approach the counter and when to step back. All the other banks have done the same thing. We understand that this more difficult in some of the TSB estate, which is why in some locations customers should only be allowed in branches one at a time. If your branch is not taking any of these measures let us know and we will carry out our own risk assessment visit.

There is no way of saying this politely but some of the worst offending branches are in more challenging locations. We all know where they and so does TSB. Enough is enough.

TSB should immediately:

  • Carry out a risk assessment of all branches to determine whether the bank should employ security guards to protect staff. We think it’s probably a dozen or so branches but they need help now. Those branches should close until proper security arrangements have been put in place.
  • Give branch managers the authority to close their branches or counter services if there is customer abuse and or there is a failure to adhere to the social distancing rules. Temporary closures are not working in many cases because as soon as the branch reopens it all starts again. We can say this – there are lots of TSB customers who are simply too stupid or selfish to realise what’s going on and the importance of adhering to guidelines issued by the Government. The safety of TSB staff and their families should not be put at risk because of customer stupidity. TSB needs to follow the Lloyds example and get tougher with customers. Equally, some of the TSB Area Directors need to take their commercial hats off and start thinking about staff safety.

What, No Lunch Breaks? – 26.3.2020

TSB has set out its new opening hours, which we discuss in more detail below, and told staff that branches will close between 12.30pm and 1.30pm for lunch breaks. It then says that during their lunch breaks it expects staff to carry out ‘wipe downs’ of branch equipment. With what? And for that to be effective, it needs to be done regularly throughout the course of the day. It’s like the bosses in Gresham Street can’t stand the fact that staff might be actually sitting down having a well-earned lunch break. And those self-same bosses will be sat in the comfort of their own homes making this stuff up in-between ordering their Ocado deliveries. You can rest assured that if Debbie Crosbie or Robin Bulloch were serving customers they would be in full hazmat suits with oxygen tanks.

It’s a pity that the bosses in Gresham Street have had to be dragged kicking and screaming, mainly by this union, to change some of their original positions but it’s not nearly enough and more needs to be done to protect staff and customers

  • If TSB is only offering essential banking services for customers why is it opening 10am to 4pm? We appreciate that banking is a key service identified by the Government but TSB should be limiting its opening time to reduce social contacts especially amongst the old and vulnerable. Lloyds is leading the way on this with branches only open between 10am to 2pm.
  • And in the face of this crisis, with branches trying to cope with the large volume of customers withdrawing money, TSB bosses have decided to put branch telephone numbers on the website which is going to drive massive demand. What idiot came up with that idea? Managers are now expected to manage that extra demand using their existing staff numbers. It’s a joke, or would be if it wasn’t the reality, and is going to cause more problems for TSB.
  • Interviews should now be done by phone wherever possible according to TSB. That doesn’t go far enough and allows for a great deal of ambiguity. All interviews should be stopped except in the most extreme cases and, only then, if they can be conducted within the social distancing guidelines. 
  • TSB should look at what roles are going to be required in branches over the next few months. If certain roles are not required, then the bank should look at releasing staff to work from home on a rotation basis, even if that means them just accessing training and development materials. The aim should be to release as many staff as possible to work from home in all areas of the bank.
  • Important and worth repeating over and over again is the importance of social distancing in all areas of the bank. If some of the supermarkets can implement it successfully then so can the bank. TSB needs to make sure that social distancing measures are applied universally across the bank and that includes contact centres and operational centres. Line management have a responsibility to ensure that the social distancing rules are applied without exception. If it’s not possible for customers to stand 6.5ft apart, then the branch should operate a one in, one out policy. If that’s not possible, then branches should close.
  • In respect of contact and operational centres the bank should be looking at what jobs are essential and what jobs can be done from home. Having spoken to lots of members, it seems to us that some jobs are not essential and could quite easily be left for a few weeks and the bank needs to be more creative about those jobs that are left.
  • In respect of disposable gloves, any form of protection is better than none. If that means staff have to dispose of gloves after every customer interaction, then so be it. Equally, all front-line staff should be issued with face masks immediately. And where is the sanitising gel TSB said would be delivered to branches a few weeks ago. Some branches still haven’t got any. TSB is asking branch staff to be in the front-line but not giving them the protection, they need or deserve. We don’t want to hear any more excuses from TSB, the time for action is now.

Please do email us at in.confidence@tbuonline.co.uk if you have something to tell us. For advice, please call us on 01234 716029 (choose Option 1) or email us at 24hours@tbuonline.co.uk.

More Protection For TSB Staff – Now – 24.3.20

The UK Government’s classification of many banking roles as critical sends a clear message that it wants as many banking branches/contact centres/operational centres to be open as possible throughout this crisis. Even in Italy, which is now the global epicentre of COVID-19, essential services such as supermarkets, grocers, pharmacies and banks continue to operate. It’s the same in all other countries. However, if TSB is to continue to play its part in this national effort then it needs to make sure that it is doing everything possible to protect the health and wellbeing of its staff and that includes the following:

1. All non-essential interviews with customers should be stopped immediately. The only face-to-face interviews that should even be considered – applying the social distancing rules – are those related to the loan schemes recently introduced by the Chancellor to help small and medium sized business over the next few months. And even then, the bank should look at conducting those interviews by phone or online if possible. The Government is telling the public to avoid parks and other public spaces, so two people sitting in a small interview room for a few hours discussing day-to-day banking products like getting a better rate for savings or adding upgrading accounts is not social distancing and must be stopped now.

2. Making sure that social distancing measures are be universally applied across the bank and that includes contact centres and operational centres. Some are doing the best they can in difficult circumstances but many are not doing anything. We know that the number of customers visiting branches has increased dramatically over the last few weeks. Many of those customers are elderly and are withdrawing large amounts of money because they believe branches are going to close and they won’t have access to their savings. For many people, it’s still a cash society. Those customers are queuing as they would normally and many branches are not insisting that the social distancing rules – stand at least 6.5ft apart – apply. That’s significantly increasing the risk of customers passing on the virus to each other and to members of staff. Area Directors have a responsibility to ensure that social distancing is being applied. If it’s not possible for customers to stand 6ft apart, then the branch should operate a one in, one out policy. The bank has said that this should only be done in exceptional circumstances. We agree but these are exceptional circumstances – the bank has a responsibility to protect its customers and staff so it must send stronger guidance out to branches on this important issue.

3. Ensuring that iPads are safe to use. The use of iPads in branches is an issue that is coming up all the time. Staff are rightly concerned that the use of iPads is a possible source of infection both for customers and themselves and they are trying everything possible to mitigate those risks. But more importantly, how is it possible to apply the social distancing rules if staff are expected to help customers use the iPad? The bank needs to revisit its guidance on this issue. If it’s not possible to use iPads safely, then branches should be able to withdraw them altogether.

Hundreds of members have already written to us to share their concerns. Please do email us at in.confidence@tbuonline.co.uk if you have something to tell us. For advice, please call us on 01234 716029 (choose Option 1) or email us at 24hours@tbuonline.co.uk.

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