Lloyds staff working at 125 London Wall were all invited to attend an online course on how to exit the building in the event of a fire last week. Members will be aware that in November, Lloyds issued a mass notification notice telling all staff at London Wall to work from home because the building was unsafe. In previous incidents it had taken staff up to 40 minutes to get out of the building with many of them stuck in overcrowded stairwells following a controlled fire alarm. And many staff stayed at their desks because that’s what they were told to do. The Bank’s video says the stairwells are fire resistant for up to an hour but that’s scant comfort if you can’t get into the corridors that lead to the stairwells because of the airlock door system.

Lloyds is trying to blame staff for the shambles. In addition to getting them to complete this course, Lloyds also asked staff to confirm the following declaration:


I confirm I have watched and understood the video on the safe evacuation of 125 London Wall and know how to evacuate safely and quickly in the event of a fire. Further support can be found from Group Health, Safety & Fire.”.

What kind of organisation does that? Staff will see this as trying to pass the buck to individual members of staff, in the unfortunate event there is real fire at 125 London Wall.

That’s the kind of thing you would expect from a sweatshop owner. Not the biggest bank in the country.

We’ve consistently argued that trained fire marshals would get staff to the nearest exits and out of the building as quickly and as safely as possible.

That’s what’s needed: not a disclaimer that seems to be aimed at passing the buck!

The Other Scandal – Update

The ongoing HBOS Reading scandal is now receiving more publicity and commentators and politicians are questioning why Dame Linda Dobbs’ investigation is taking so long to complete?

We wrote to Dame Linda recently and our letter can be found here.

We have also written to Helen Baldwin MP, Chair of the Treasury Committee, asking her recall Dame Linda and Mr Charlie Nunn, Group Chief Executive, to explain what’s going on and why it’s taken so long to get to the truth.

In that letter we say:

“There is another scandal that is still ongoing, the HBOS Reading fraud. The fraud involved bankers and business consultants who used reckless credit policies to steal money from HBOS; in the process wrecking scores of businesses. Some 200+ business owners and their families were financially ruined by the fraud. A number of those customers have since died without knowing exactly what went on and who was responsible. Like the Post Office, Lloyds Banking Group was accused of covering up the scandal.

In April 2017, Lloyds appointed Dame Linda Dobbs, a former High Court judge, to investigate the Bank’s handling of the HBOS Reading fraud. That investigation is now nearly 7 years old and Dame Linda has still not said when her investigation will be published. I’m sure you would agree, that’s simply unacceptable.

In June 2018, Dame Linda told the Rt. Hon. Nicky Morgan that her report would be completed during the second half of 2019. That came and went. She then said it would be the second half of 2020. That also came and went with no report. It was reported last year that she was still taking evidence and as things stand there is no end in sight. It’s travesty of justice and a scandal all of its own. Those 200+ customers and their families directly affected by the HBOS Reading fraud have waited long enough for the outcome of Dame Linda’s investigation.

The Treasury Select Committee has been monitoring the HBOS Reading scandal from the beginning and we would urge you to insist that Dame Linda attend a meeting of the Committee to explain, in person, why her report is taking so long to produce. Mr. Charlie Nunn, Group Chief Executive, Lloyds Banking Group should also be invited to explain why Dame Linda says that witnesses, many of whom are Lloyds employees or ex-employees, have been reluctant to give evidence and why it’s taken so long to provide key documents.

The Post Office scandal is the story of how innocent people had their lives ruined and how they had to fight on their own for many years to get justice. The scale is different, but HBOS Reading customers want the same justice.”.

We will also be writing to all MPs. Dame Linda needs to give a publication date this year and stick to it. 

Willis Towers Watson

As we published in one of our previous Newsletter, Willis Towers Watson (WTW) has one of the worst net promoter scores we have ever seen and we get complaints from members on a daily basis about its level of customer service. Something needs to be done about it, and quickly. The shambles can’t be allowed to continue.

This is just one example of the type of cases we are having to deal with.

Doreen told WTW that she was retiring on the 24th July 2023. Her pension calculation was wrong because WTW had input the wrong retirement date.

And this is what passes for customer service at WTW:

  • 25th September – Email drafted by BTU to raise retirement date issue with WTW – Doreen sent the email but gets no reply.
  • 23rd October – Email drafted by us to Harry Baines, Chairman of the Trustee Board. She gets no reply from Mr Baines.
  • 26th October – Doreen gets a reply from WTW confirming that it was investigating the matter.
  • 16th November – Doreen received a phone call from WTW offering her £500 to close the complaint she raised. Doreen rejects the offer because her complaint was still outstanding.
  • 28th November – Doreen received an email from WTW confirming that the retirement date would be amended but would need to be referred to an actuary because she retired after her 75th birthday.
  • 8th December – Doreen sent an email asking if there was any further update. Again, she gets no reply.
  • 29th December – Union drafts another email for Doreen to send to Harry Baines. Once again, Mr Baines doesn’t reply and nor do WTW.
  • There’s been no further correspondence from WTW since 28th November 2023.

Is that any way to treat a 75-year old retired member of staff, Mr Baines?

The Trustee, chaired by Mr Baines, which is paying millions to WTW, needs seriously to consider moving its business to another provider who can answer letters, emails and phone calls. It’s not rocket science!

We wrote to Mr Baines recently detailing our research on the woeful performance of WTW but, not surprisingly, got no response as we never do. At least he’s consistent!

Members with any questions on this Newsletter should contact the Union’s Advice Team on 01234 262868 (choose Option 1).



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