Here’s a snapshot of member responses to date.

Our non-branch survey will follow tomorrow.

  • 41% of respondents said that in their branches more staff had been told to report for work than were needed to provide essential banking services to customers.
  • Staff were spending time clearing out offices and cupboards or carrying out non-essential training.
  • 53% of respondents said their branches still didn’t have protective screens. Of that 53%, 73% had been promised screens would be installed, but most had no idea when.
  • Significant numbers of branches were still operating without, masks, gloves, hand sanitiser or adequate handwashing facilities.
  • Numerous members questioned why Banking Consultants and Mortgage & Protection Advisers needed to be in-branch.
  • 11% of respondents said that in their branches it was proving impossible to maintain a distance of 2m between both staff and customers, due either to the branch layout or customer inability to follow the rules.
  • Where there were suspected cases of COVID-19 amongst staff, some branches had not subsequently been deep-cleaned.
  • Members reported very little evidence of any monitoring to ensure that only essential banking activities were being undertaken. In many branches, it was business as usual.

Overstaffing of Branches

Numerous members contacted us to say that their managers had done an excellent job of arranging rotas so that only a bare minimum of staff had to be in at any one time, which is entirely sensible – those managers must be praised.

However, 41% of respondents said that more staff had been told to report for work in their branches than were needed to provide essential banking services to customers.

For example, in Yate, 15 staff reported to work where only 3 were needed. 16 staff members reported to work in Northfield, serving a maximum of 4 customers at any one time, and 19 came to work in Cheltenham High Street, with only 3 being able to serve customers; the rest had nothing productive to do.

There are too many over-staffed branches to report in this newsletter – here’s just a small sample: Wednesfield, Wallsend, Herne Bay, Westgate Huddersfield, Ipswich, Haywards Heath, Boston, Whitechapel, Wembley, Llandudno, Shirebrook, Eastleigh, Sunderland, Spalding, Newport, Redhill, Gateshead, Lancaster, Hunslet, Shirley, Tamworth.

Too many staff were spending time tidying up offices, clearing out cupboards or carrying out non-essential training – during an epidemic in blatant defiance of government policy that people should only go to work if it’s absolutely necessary. Significant numbers were also undertaking cleaning duties. Any sensible person surely has to ask, what on earth are managers doing dragging staff in to work to clean out cupboards at a time like this? Who told them to do so?

Lack Of Protective Equipment and Social Distancing Problems

53% of respondents said their branches still don’t have protective screens.

To the branch that contacted us to say they were aggrieved that the Bank was publicly claiming to have markings and screens up in all their branches when that’s clearly not the case, I can say publicly that your concerns are entirely justified.

The reality is that a significant number of branches are still operating without, masks, gloves, hand sanitiser or adequate handwashing facilities. The feedback speaks for itself:

“We have no hand sanitiser, no screens and I’ve heard it is doubtful that we will get them as we are a small branch with lower footfall than others. However many customers come in our lives are still being put at risk with no protection only broken promises!”

“My line manager went out and bought antibacterial wipes nothing been delivered to branch.”

“Customers were complaining as why there’s no markings outside and why I’m not wearing a mask. Also I’m hearing them getting upset with the cashiers that they are not wearing gloves handling the money.”

“I’m finding our cleaners are not coming to clean. We have been told that the branch will be deep cleaned. This has not happened at all which makes staff more apprehensive about our working environment.”

“No tape markings at all on floor, insufficient sanitiser for staff and customers, bought our own gloves and disinfectant wipes, cleaning leaves a lot to be desired, I think deep cleaning should have been introduced.”

“There have been two potential cases of Coronavirus in the branch but no deep clean took place as they were not confirmed cases.”

In some branches it’s impossible to maintain a distance of 2m between both staff and customers either due to the branch layout or customer inability to follow the rules.

There is not enough signage produced by the bank to tell customers what is essential banking and what is not. Also having to manage expectations from customers is stressful and some customers are coming in as phone line waits are hours long only to be told we cannot action things like mortgage payment breaks in branch. There is often rudeness and aggression from customers. Many still come in because they don’t like using machines and doing things online. I think the bank should help us enforce the need for only calling in for the most essential of banking need.”

Serious Management Failings

As one member said “Our manager was first to roll up her sleeves and get stuck in. It’s sad that not every manager has taken this approach.”

The survey clearly shows that there are still serious management failings which are putting staff at unnecessary risk:

“I have found the management leadership team totally lacking in their understanding of the seriousness of this current situation. I have gone to work and had to be quite forceful and say that I refuse to use tablets, ask when is the hand sanitizer coming, tell my manager all face to face interviews should be stopped. I explained how important social distancing was.”

Numerous members have reported that “There are problems with Fraud, they keep insisting on speaking to the staff member after the initial ID has been done which is ridiculous , resulting in the phone being passed back and forth which is unacceptable in the current climate”. The Bank clearly needs to address this issue immediately to prevent unnecessary exposure for staff.

“I’m a BC and been told I may have to interview again in separate rooms!!?? Not sure what that would look like but I cannot keep 2 metres between myself and a customer when in same room due to their size and layout.” If you’re asked to interview again, contact the Advice Team straight away on 01234 262868 (choose Option 1).

“Our manager is wanting to do Check ins with us this week and expects us to write down everything we have been doing as evidence, when asked why she replied: ” I must be seen to be doing my job, and I don’t won’t my boss telling me I’m not doing my job so we have to do these Check ins “!!”

“Appointment Diaries have now had to be changed to open (not immediate so WE can decide if the appt is essential!) .. apparently for “essential” appointments. We are going to have to triage the appts and make sure that connect do not book in unnecessary appts like savings renewals (we have been assured that they have been told not to!)”

“We are refusing some non-urgent transactions, only to have telephony send the customers in again the next day.”

Brentwood staff have reported “We have been told to ask all staff to report for work then send home who we don’t need. We have refused to comply with this at it causes unnecessary travel and are rotating staff so we have enough in each day.”

In Ipswich, numerous staff have told us those who can’t come in because of childcare issues being asked to come in with their children and complete training. Furthermore, “Initially we were going to be working in teams but this was scrapped after one day we were told higher management had deemed all staff must be in. This week people have been given days off I believe to make up for those who got the extra day off initially but those staff have been told not to tell other staff they are off the next day. It has created a paranoia of are people off with symptoms or are they just off.”

MaPAs Working From Home

Numerous MaPAs have contacted us to say they don’t understand why they can’t be sent home to work.

As one MaPA puts it “I am a Mortgage & Protection Adviser and I have been asked to come into work to do general admin via telephone and emails. I am also going to start helping customers with product transfers over the phone. This is something that could be easily done at home but due to lack of laptops I am not able to do so. Jo Harris mentioned they are trying to provide members with laptops but they are not including Mortgage Advisers as we have been considered key workers instead even though I can’t do anything in the branch.”

With so many members reporting problems with overstaffing, surely the Bank can arrange for MaPAs to work from home.

If MaPAs are needed in branches, the Bank should explain the rationale clearly to staff. If there is no sensible rationale and it’s becoming increasingly hard to see one – send them home!

Lloyds Bank Must Do More

One member said “In a Government instruction for lock down. Unbelievable reckless antics by Lloyds bank as usual. No thought for STAFF or customers. Best Bank for customers!! More like Best Bank for spreading COVID 19.”

You only have to look at the photos of the newly constructed Nightingale Hospital to see what is potentially upon us. The Bank clearly does have a vital role to play in providing essential banking services to the general public, but far more needs to be done to ensure that all managers are taking whatever steps are necessary to protect staff.

One final piece of feedback “I believe BTU are the only way to try and get a tiny bit of minimising risk to staff – especially as the bank’s leaders are sat safely at home with no interaction face to face (their messages of ‘support’ are either unread or dismissed by those in the branch I’m afraid – except for Jo Harris, who is at least addressing issues albeit reactively in her emails”

Mark Brown will follow this up in subsequent newsletters; please do share these with others in your branch who may not otherwise see them. Tell people who are not members to join us and our campaign.

You can report problems to us at any time by emailing us at in.confidence@btuonline.co.uk or calling the Advice Team on 01234 262868 (choose Option 1).


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