Many members are concerned that the bank’s response to the COVID 19 outbreak has failed to address how branch staff should be protected. Most head office staff in controlled environments are now working from home or will do so on a rotation basis. Group Transformation told all its staff to work from home for two weeks. Relationship Managers in Commercial Banking have been given advice about face-to-face meetings but there’s been nothing for branch staff. Whilst staff will do all they can to help customers, under what circumstances can they rearrange appointments with customers? Should they be even asking customers to come in for appointments given the Prime Minister’s announcement yesterday? Now that social distancing has been introduced, how do branches operate in those circumstances? Equally, the new quarantine restrictions mean that many more staff are going to be off work for 14 days and that’s going to have a knock-on effect on how branches operate. Again, staff need more guidance from the bank on what to do.
It’s simply no good the bank giving the impression that it is business as usual because it most certainly is not.
A good example of the disconnect between Gresham Street and branches can be found in the bank’s latest guidance. It says you “should put used tissues in the bin”. Simple and straight forward you would think. However, all wastepaper bins were removed from branches a few years ago because of risk concerns. In some branches customers are being told to take their used tissues with them. The bank said that it was ordering sanitising gels for use in branches but those haven’t turned up in many cases. Some wag suggested that branches should be given the wastepaper bins from head office locations because all those staff are now working from home. But seriously, branch staff have more direct customer contact than any other group of people in the bank yet they are being asked to carry on doing the same things, in the same way. Branches will be visited by hundreds of customers every day and they need more advice and guidance from the bank. That’s not too much to ask, is it?
Members with any questions on this should contact the Union’s Advice Team on 01234 262868 (choose Option 1).