In a previous Newsletter, we reported that Lloyds had got rid of its Fire Marshals with effect from 1st January 2023 following an agreement with its in-house staff unions – Accord and Unite.
According to the new policy, it would be everyone for themselves when it comes to getting out of a burning branch or building. The new policy says: “Everyone must take personal responsibility for their own safety and evacuate the building immediately”. It goes onto say: “DO NOT wait for any instructions. Colleagues should make their way to the assembly point as per site arrangements”.
In its communications the Bank says that branch staff are now personally responsible for making sure that customers evacuate the branches in the event of a fire alarm. So, it’s suddenly gone from staff taking “personal responsibility for their own safety” [BTU emphasis] to staff now taking responsibility for the safety of customers.
Who in the branch is required to take personal responsibility for the safety of customers? The Bank doesn’t say. There are lots of branches which are organised across different floors. Is the Bank now saying that the Branch Manager, or whoever happens to be in charge on the day the fire alarm goes off, is responsible for sweeping the branch to make sure every customer leaves the building? Moreover, what about those customers, for example, who can’t leave the branch unaided because they are disabled. Is the Branch Manager also responsible for them?
The Bank should make it clear to customers that in the event of a fire alarm they are personably responsible for the own safety and can’t rely on branch staff to get them out of the building. If it’s not prepared to do that, then reinstitute Fire Marshals to do the job they were trained to do instead. Unlike their colleagues in Head Office locations, staff in branches have not changed the way they are working so there was no need to get rid of Fire Marshals.
Members with any questions on this Newsletter should contact the Union’s Advice Team on 01234 262868 (choose Option 1). Alternatively, you can contact us through our website here.
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