This extraordinary year is coming to an end. But we have the prospect of further restrictions post-Christmas and the possibility of disruption if the post-Brexit transition period ends without a trade agreement between the UK and the EU.

Nevertheless, it’s business as usual for Accord and this newsletter provides an update on current issues.

We hope that you manage to get some rest and, if you're able to, spend some quality time with loved ones over the festive period. We'll be back in touch in the New Year (and possibly sooner for branch staff in Scotland!)

Confirmation of voluntary redundancy outcomes & exit dates
As the new structure starts to settle into place, partners who've been informed they are to be made redundant are questioning when they'll receive formal confirmation of this and when their actual exit dates will be.

We've asked the bank and they say that partners who've been informed they have voluntary redundancy will receive an email confirmation by the end of the year and that all will receive their official exit date within their notice letter when it's due.

Notice letters are issued at the start of the notice period and can be either 2 or 3 months, depending on the heritage job security agreement terms. Payment in lieu of notice (PILON) can be made in the unusual event that it was not possible for the business to give the required notice.

The bank did make clear at the time of the restructure announcements that exit dates could be staggered through the first half of 2021 and will depend on the branch closure dates and what support was needed by each area. Line managers should have more information on this in the New Year.
 
Support with CV writing
Partners who are leaving the bank through redundancy will receive their formal notice letter which will contain a link to 'Right Management' support service. This is an external company, employed by TSB, which offers advice and support to partners who are applying for external roles - including CV writing, interview techniques and more. 
 
Local Banker B - Level 2
As reported in previous newsletters, we've received concerns from members about moving to the Money Confidence Expert role which will require level 3 accreditation. From this, Carol Anderson, Branch Director, has hosted joint calls with Accord and Unite over the last 2 weeks and invited partners who are impacted to join.

The concerns expressed include no appetite for the role, anxiety about support and training, and lack of confidence in carrying out the role. There was also natural disappointment from some that VR had not been made available to them. We understand this disappointment but redundancy is compensation for a loss of job and there are no job losses of Grade B branch roles in this restructure.

Carol gave reassurances that support and training was in place to support everyone moving through the accreditation and that this would be offered at a steady pace throughout 2021.

We believe a lot still needs to be done to allay anxieties and build confidence with these partners. We'll continue to monitor the situation during next year and have requested that further calls be planned during 2021 to hear about progress.
 
Travel and mobility policy
We've regularly asked the business to revisit the travel and mobility policy to ensure it fits with current times and we're scheduled to discuss this in more detail in January. If you have any comments or suggestions that you'd like to be considered, please let me know.
 
Saturday 2nd January in Scotland
The 2nd January is a Scotland bank holiday which, this year, falls on a Saturday. So, Monday 4th January is the official bank holiday.

However, it's acknowledged that in Scotland, people traditionally celebrate the New Year on both the 1st and 2nd of January.

With this in mind, we engaged with the business earlier in the year to see if it had plans to open Scotland branches on Saturday 2nd  and if it did, how would they be managed. The bank said it was considering opening a small number of branches that would be staffed on a voluntary basis.

We revisited this topic during the year and again, received confirmation that these branches would be staffed by volunteers.

The business has recently announced that only 8 branches will open on 2nd January in Scotland, on reduced hours and with a skeleton staff. But, they've changed their position about volunteers only.

Their rationale is that Saturday is not the bank holiday and as a working day, partners who'd be scheduled to work can be requested to do so.

This is very disappointing news to these partners, particularly after such a difficult year.

We made our disappointment clear to the bank that this is not what was previously discussed, and we're concerned that a change in position was imposed so close to the end of the year. We await a further response from the business.
 
Excel House move
TSB has given notice on the lease for Excel House in Edinburgh and partners have been advised that they'll move to Henry Duncan House in January. We understand that this should be a positive move for partners but should anyone have any issues, please get in touch.
TSB signs the EIDA charter
TSB has recently become a member of the Employers’ Initiative on Domestic Abuse (EIDA). The bank signed the EIDA charter, committing to raising awareness and providing better support for staff who may be affected by domestic abuse. A very welcome and positive move by TSB.

Partners will be offered more tools regarding domestic abuse, whether that’s supporting other colleagues or customers, or finding support individually.

More details will be announced in the new year, but for any partners that need support over the festive period, the free and confidential ‘Everyone’s Business Advice Line’ is open on 07770 480 437 or 020 387 93695 from Monday to Friday, 10am – 3pm. Or, you can email Adviceline.EB@hestia.org
 
And finally...
Thanks, as always, for supporting your union. 

I hope that, however you'll be able to spend your time over the festive period, you stay safe and well. 
 
Ged Nichols
General Secretary

M: 07973 642 592
E: ged.nichols@accordhq.org

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T: 0118 934 1808 | E: info@accordhq.org | W: www.accord-myunion.org
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Accord, Simmons House
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