Following an emergency meeting with Steve Cooper and Raymond Pettitt on the 6th November and further consultative meetings held with Barclays, Unite is pleased to advise members that we are making progress over the current staffing issues seen in the Retail Branch Network.
Following our strong representations we are now working constructively with Barclays on a number of work streams designed to reduce the pressure being felt by staff in branches and improving the customer experience. There is an impetus to deliver on all these key initiatives in the short to medium term.
The following are some of the key proposals:
- Barclays are reviewing the opening hours in a significant number of branches, which will result in many reducing their current hours, but this work will also see some increasing. The Bank will continue to share information with Unite on the progress of this review. Subject to the required customer notice the Bank have indicated this will be delivered in Q1 2015.
- Barclays will increase their level of recruitment - currently the equivalent of 86fte staff are waiting to start and there are 226fte live vacancies to be filled externally. Following a review of the recruitment process, Barclays will resume hiring based on likely leaver numbers, which will increase external recruitment further. Further improvements to the process are also planned including volume assessment events to create a pipeline for the future.
- Barclays have told Unite they are committed to significantly reducing the time to hire and had already put steps in place to simplify the headcount sign off process. They are also considering whether to approach (amongst others) recent leavers to provide a pool of resource to lift current staffing levels and provide cover for peaks in demand such as ISA season.
- Following our strong recommendation, Barclays will ensure that all branches display the standard notice on customer abuse. The ‘zero tolerance’ policy will be re-iterated to all staff, whilst guidelines and procedures are being reviewed. In the meantime it is extremely important that all such instances of abuse are properly reported by staff in order to ensure accurate data is recorded by the bank and appropriate steps are taken.
- Barclays is carrying out a full review of the current resourcing tool, with the aim of resourcing to ‘workload’ in all branches. They will increase staffing where this proves necessary. This includes all completed and planned ASC branches.
- Barclays is reviewing the operation of small branches (those with 3fte or less), looking at a range of options on how these can operate going forward to give more flexibility and comfort for those staff working in them.
The above are just some of the highlights of the work that is underway. Barclays is also looking at other resourcing and operational processes, up-skilling line managers on planning and resourcing and smoothing out peaks and troughs in customer demand.
Whilst Unite is disappointed that it has taken so long for the business to take decisive steps to address the serious resourcing issues that we have been reporting to them, we are now fully engaged in all of this work.
It is inevitable these initiatives will take time to deliver - the main benefits to staff will start to be seen in the New Year and will be fully delivered by the end of Q1. In the meantime, we have asked Barclays to explore any immediate measures that can be taken to ensure that extra support for colleagues is provided over the Christmas period.
We would like to thank the members who responded to our last newsletter, giving details of the issues being faced in their branches.
Once again we believe we have demonstrated the benefit of having an independent trade union in with a strong voice that is respected by Barclays . If you are not a member join now, using the on line link detailed below.