Following the publication of our Newsletter last week, Lloyds Banking Group has bowed to union pressure and told branch staff working in the Banking Hall that they can now use the Government’s Track and Trace app. Jo Harris, Managing Director of the Lloyds Community Bank, said: “Today we’ve issued a Branch update providing more information. Should you wish, please do use the (NHS Test and Trace) app when in the Banking Hall”.
Members will recall that the bank had originally instructed staff – with the support of the two in-house staff bodies – to turn off the Government’s Track and Trace app whilst at work. The union had told Lloyds that if it didn’t change its position it would write to Public Health England, Public Health Wales, Public Health Scotland and MPs. The bank also came under pressure from the national media, who picked up the union’s Newsletter and questioned the wisdom of telling frontline bank staff to disable the Test and Trace app.
In our Newsletter last week, we said:
“The bank may seek to argue that staff in branches are working behind Perspex screens and exempt from using the app whilst at work. However, the reality in many branches is quite different. There are thousands of staff doing the welcome role, monitoring doors and helping with ATM and IDM machines who come into contact with large volumes of customers on a daily basis. Those staff are not behind Perspex screens. And many of those staff behind Perspex screens, may be called upon to help out their colleagues in the front of the branch at any time. We also know that many customers are either not wearing face coverings because they have exemptions or are fraudulently claiming exemptions. A member of staff could be exposed to contact with someone who later proves to be Covid positive but won’t know because the NHS app is not being utilised by the bank. Equally, a customer who speaks to a member of Lloyds staff who later turns out to be infected would want to be notified. We all would, that’s why 14 million of us have downloaded the app”.
It would be churlish of us not to acknowledge that Mrs Harris has responded to the concerns of the largest independent trade union in Lloyds quickly. That said, it’s a pity that it took the threat of further action for the bank to change its position and do the right thing for staff and customers.
Members with any questions on this should contact the Union’s Advice Team on 01234 262868 (choose Option 1).