On Tuesday 14th we are going to carry out what I expect to be our last Covid-19 survey in Lloyds branches.

The surveys so far, in which members have participated fully, have given us a chance to identify the key issues and problem areas and given members a voice that they would not otherwise have had. Whilst I have acknowledged the progress Lloyds has made since our campaign began and the generally well-managed move to home-working in non-branch locations, the survey has revealed an uncoordinated approach to Covid-19 across the branch network. Some managers have done exceptionally well but others have not. Clearly, this has had a massive effect on staff morale, in both directions.

By the beginning of next week, every manager in the branch network will have had ample opportunity to correct mistakes and, in some cases, reverse some of the amazingly cavalier approaches to staff health and safety that we’ve seen. As I’ve made clear, if they do not do what’s needed to reduce the risk to their staff we will bring the situation in those areas into the public domain.

Yesterday I was told of one branch manager who has been in intensive care suffering from Covid-19. We wish him a speedy and full recovery but his illness shows that everyone is at serious risk from this virus. Those at the top of the bank who are paid massive salaries to get things right and those charged with managing staff further down the chain should reflect on whether ‘presenteeism’ or tidying up cupboards are really appropriate at a time like this.

The Union’s Advice Team has had thousands of calls on Covid-19 and for us, the joint announcement between Lloyds, Accord and Unite telling us that they are working in partnership to protect staff has a particularly hollow ring to it! I think members will be able to work out the self-serving nature of the announcement for themselves and I would only add that what staff needed was swift action not platitudes after the event.

Finally, I wish all our members and their families an enjoyable and safe Easter break.

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