Another special edition COVID-19 update has been issued to Accord members who work in Halifax, Lloyds and Bank of Scotland branches.
This latest update focuses on the significant progress Accord has made on redeployment opportunities with the Retail leadership team – including details on the roll-out of new jobs on offer to a large number of grade A & B branch staff to take up roles in Customer Services.
New opportunities for branch staff
Whilst no-one can foresee the future, what’s clear right now is that many customers are doing their banking in other ways.
You won’t be surprised to know that the stats shared with us on a daily basis show that transaction levels are significantly down, even outside of lockdown periods.
Whether or not customers who have switched to different channels (telephony/internet) will come back to branches when we’re through the other side of the pandemic is difficult to predict. But we can’t leave it to chance if we’re to protect your livelihoods.
As we said in our last update #21: “our job is to protect your job. So, we’ll be pressing for redeployment opportunities where possible and for voluntary severance to be offered before any compulsory redundancies are considered.”
And we’ve made some significant progress on this objective with the Retail leadership team.
We fully support today’s announcement of the roll-out of new jobs on offer to a large number of grade A and B branch staff to take up roles in Customer Services.
The bank should have sent full details to you by now, but in summary:
- The jobs are permanent
- They will avoid the need to make redundancies in the A & B grades at this time
- They’re open to interest from full time, part time and on-call staff
- They’ll start in the new year for successful applicants
- Successful applicants will work from home and won’t need to be near a LBG site to take on a
- There are a number of shifts to choose from offering more flexibility than working in a branch
- The equipment and training needed to work efficiently and safely from home will be provided
- Training will begin straight away and there’ll be access to a line manager and other experienced colleagues each step of the way
- Wellbeing will be a priority and focus for line managers. Their job will be to make it easy form team members to stay in touch with the rest of their team
- Accord will be here to make sure that members are fully supported and treated fairly through
There’s loads more information in the bank’s communications.
You won’t be forced to take one of these roles – volunteers are being sought. Nor can you be prevented from applying so long as you meet the ‘working from home’ criteria (set out in the bank’s information pack). But we are encouraging members to think carefully about the opportunity.
Talk to your family, friends, colleagues and line manager and take time to carefully consider whether this move is right for you.
If you want to talk to someone from Accord, get in touch with the officer who supports your workplace (contact details at the end of this email). Or book a timed call by sending an email to [email protected] headed “Book a call”. We’re here to help and support you as you think this through.
But what about the branches?
We know that some members already feel under pressure since a number of their colleagues moved out of branch to support other Retail business areas. These concerns were raised with Jo Harris and Russell Galley at Accord’s recent virtual conference.
They responded that – whilst banks aren’t immune to economic uncertainty - LBG is a strong bank with a resilient branch network across all three brands. And there absolutely remains a need for the branch within LBG’s multi-channel and multi-brand offering.
That said, it was made clear that much more flexibility will be required to get the right services in the right place at the right time. So, there’s no getting away from it - branch life will change.
We know that change can be scary. What the bank plans to do may not fit with individual members’ needs and aspirations. And that’s where we come in.
We’ll be at the centre of any discussions that impact your terms and conditions of employment and your job security. You can count on that. And we’ll be available to advise and support you on an individual basis too. Details of the Accord officer to contact are at the end of this update (allocated according to workplace postcode).
What’s important for now, though, is that if you’re in a branch that’s already struggling to cope with customer demand because of staff absence, you need to know that support is available. If you can’t sort things out through your line manager, we’re more than happy to raise your concerns at a higher level to get you the help you and your colleagues need. Get in touch with the Accord officer who supports your workplace.
We’re as confident as we can be that the business will do all it can to avoid compulsory redundancies. But we’ve built in an extra layer of protection for Accord members if there comes a time when they simply can’t.
Our ‘bumping register’ records the details of Accord members who are prepared to give up their role and receive a compensation payment to make way for another member who wants to stay with the business.
Of course, any ‘bump’ depends on a skills, salary, hours of work, etc. match so getting your name on the register won’t guarantee that you’ll be able to ‘bump’. But we have had successes.
If you’d like to be added (in complete confidence) send an email to [email protected]. Head your email “Bumping Register” and provide the following information:
- Job title
- Current salary
- Hours of work
- Length of service
Further updates will follow.