The Government has repeatedly said employers must make every effort to help staff to work from home. We appreciate that banking is a key public service but Lloyds could be doing a lot more to stop the spread of this virus by allowing more homeworking across all areas of the bank and reducing the number of inessential staff in branches.

One branch is overstaffed now that the bank has reduced opening hours and the available services. Instead of allowing staff to work from home on a rotational basis, staff were told to clean the back garden. Now the back garden at that branch consists of a series of large shared bins, where rough sleepers generally congregate. If Antonio Horta-Osorio, Group Chief Executive, thinks that’s what Lloyds branch staff should be doing during this COVID-19 pandemic, then we challenge him to go to the branch this week and help staff clean up the garden. And if he’s prepared to go, then it’s only right that I give him a hand. I’ll bring the protective clothing.

In another branch, banking consultants who had nothing to do were told to go upstairs to start cleaning the branch because they were being paid to work. And that’s the kind of messages we are getting from members right across the Lloyds network. We don’t blame line managers; they are getting no advice from the bank centrally about what to do. Instead, we blame those in senior positions who no doubt are dictating policy from the comfort of their own homes.

Jenny Tippin, Group Director People and Productivity, has said that 40,000 Lloyds staff are now working from home. 20,000 additional laptops have been secured to enable more staff to work from home. But does that include branch and contact centre staff? Mrs Tippin said that key staff will be reimbursed for using whatever travel option allows them to best follow the social distancing guidance. The best social distancing option is to stay at home according to the Government, so why is she not doing everything possible to allow more branch and contact centre staff to work from home?

Jo Harris, Managing Director of Lloyds Community Bank, has said that “we are continually monitoring customer behaviour as it changes rapidly in the light of evolving government advice. It is our intention to minmise the number of colleagues required in each of our branches…” Ms Harris is not monitoring the situation hard enough from the comfort of her virus free study. There are lots more Lloyds staff who could be working from home, protecting them and their families from catching the virus.

The simple truth is Lloyds is bringing more staff into work simply because it can, not because it needs to. Lloyds needs to stop trying to offer a normal service and to bring into work only the bare number of staff needed to provide basic banking services to customers.

This is about sacrificing commercial objectives for a short time to protect the health of the Lloyds staff. It’s that simple.

If Antonio Horta-Osorio, Jen Tippin and Jo Harris think working in branches is safe they should join the front-line tomorrow morning and share the risk! The Union will pay for the cost of whatever travel option best allows them to observe the social distancing guidelines!

Protection Screens, Now

If Morrisons, Aldi, Lidl, Sainsbury, Tesco and Waitrose have put up Perspex protection screens in their stores then why hasn’t Lloyds already done it? That should have been the first job.

We would expect all branches to have their screens fitted by the end of week given the valuable protection they provide to staff.

If your branch hasn’t got a protection screen by then, contact the Union’s Advice Team and we will publish a daily list of branches naming and shaming the top managers who are not protecting their staff. Lloyds has had enough time to source these screens and we want them in as quickly as possible. No more delays.

What’s Going On In Your Area?

Some groups are better than others when it comes to protecting the health and wellbeing of staff. Staff being told to work in the garden or clean the branch are classic examples of the kind of stupidity that we want to stamp out as soon as possible. We rely on members telling us what’s happening locally. Lloyds will say things centrally but when that’s communicated down the management chain what’s comes out at line management level is invariably different. If there are things going on in your area which fall short of what Lloyds is saying centrally or anything which you feel we should be aware of then contact the Advice Team immediately.

Members with any issues they would like us to deal with on this should contact the Union’s Advice Team on 01234 262868 (choose Option 1).

If you work with staff who are not members of BTU please show them this newsletter.

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